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The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

Good Value For Money – Inspectors

23/03/2004

CPS Merseyside is an Area that gives good value for money, according to Service inspectors.

This was based on its high quality of decision-making, regular reviews of deployment of staff, effective budget control and robust performance management.

In a report following an Area inspection, they described CPS Merseyside’s initial decision-making and continuing review of cases as good.

“We consider that CPS staff give added-value to the preparation of cases but that they remain hampered by the poor quality and timeliness of full files prepared by the police,” they said.

Sensitive cases, such as child abuse, rape, domestic violence and racially-aggravated offences, were handled well for the most part, although a few were discontinued too readily.

The accuracy of indictments and standard of instructions to counsel were consistently good, and The CPS Merseyside’s disclosure performance was above the average of other Areas.

The inspectors also praised the Area for working with its criminal justice partners to increase the numbers of offenders being brought to justice. At the time of the inspection, Merseyside was expected to reach or better its target.

They considered CPS Merseyside’s prosecutors “mostly competent in all respects and some even better”, although the Area was suffering from a shortage of lawyers.

With a strong relationship with the Witness Service, it had arranged a multi-agency conference and had taken part in others involving witness care issues. It also took the lead in the production of a leaflet for witnesses attending court.

The quality of letters sent under the Direct Communication with Victims initiative was good.

The Area had played an important and effective role in the development of the Merseyside Criminal Justice Board and, added the report: “Generally, the Area is well regarded by other agencies, which appreciate the constraints under which it is working.”

The CCP enjoyed a high profile with the local media and other managers from the Area were also becoming known.

Among the five recommendations made by the Inspectorate was the proposal that the Area management team develop and implement a clear policy and strategy for community engagement.

It also recommended that the CCP and managers of the CJU/MCU take urgent action to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Liverpool co-located unit.

Commenting on the Inspectorate’s findings, CCP John Holt said: “I am delighted to welcome such a positive report which reflects the hard work and public service values of our staff.

“We acknowledge, of course, that there are some things that we could do better. We have a strong culture of continuous improvement, which is recognised in this report, and we are already working to provide an even better service to the people of Merseyside.”