Advanced Search

Decision to Charge

Once the Police have completed their investigations, they will refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on how to proceed. We will then make a decision on whether a suspect should be charged, and what that charge should be.

Find out more about private prosecutions

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

Charging decision regarding Crowthorne stabbing incident


Thames Valley Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has decided that no charges will be brought against a man who stabbed a youth who it is alleged assaulted his stepson at his home in Crowthorne, Berkshire, on 24 July 2009.

CPS Complex Casework lawyer Paul Harrison said: "I have considered the case against Colin Philpott very carefully and decided that there is insufficient evidence to charge him with any offence in relation to this incident.

"In making my decision, I took into account the level of force used by Mr Philpott, the fact that he was defending his family and property and responding to an immediate threat of danger to himself. In my view the prosecution would not be able to establish that Mr Philpott was not acting in self defence or that the force he used was unreasonable in the circumstances."

A 17-year-old youth from Sandhurst has been charged with actual bodily harm in relation to the alleged attack upon Mr Philpott's step son and criminal damage in relation to the alleged vandalism of his vehicles. He has been released on bail and is due to appear at Maidenhead Youth Court on 4 February 2010.

Another 17-year-old youth has also been charged with a public order offence. He has been released on bail to appear at Maidenhead Youth Court on 4 February 2010.

Three other youths arrested in connection with the incident have been released without charge.


  1. Media enquiries by phone: 020 7710 8127. Out of hours pager: 07699 781926.
  2. Proceedings are now active against the two youths and the media is asked to ensure nothing is reported to prejudice their trials or that would lead to their identities being revealed as they are both under 18.
  3. The Crown Prosecution Service is the independent authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute
    • Preparing cases for court
    • Presenting cases at court
  4. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). These are organised into 14 Groups, plus CPS London, each overseen by Group Chair, a senior CCP. In addition there are five specialised national divisions: Organised Crime, Special Crime, Counter-Terrorism, Fraud Prosecution, and Revenue and Customs. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,250 people and prosecuted 1,032,598 cases with an overall conviction rate of 86.6% in 2008-2009. Further information can be found on our website.

    More about the CPS

  5. The DPP has published his long term vision for the prosecution service and its role within the wider criminal justice system. It includes modernising the service and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of criminal justice - read "The Public Prosecution Service: Setting the Standard" at
  6. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests.

    Publicity and the Criminal Justice System protocol