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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

CPS responds to Inspectors' review of its handling of British Transport Police Casework


The Crown Prosecution Service welcomes the HMCPSI report "Keeping on the Right Track", a follow up report on the 2004 Thematic Review of the CPS Handling of British Transport Police Casework. Overall the report shows that "substantial progress" has been made since the recommendations of the 2004 report.

Nigel Cowgill, the Chief Crown Prosecutor for Humberside, (who is the CPS lead for matters relating to BTP) said: "The original thematic review highlighted significant issues around the structure of the two organisations in terms of liaison and communications. We are pleased that the Inspectorate has now observed substantial improvement in this area.

Since the original report "Getting on the Right Track", the CPS and BTP have appointed national champions to develop an effective national communication structure. In addition, some joint training has taken place in relation to new initiatives such as conditional cautioning, and CPS and BTP have signed a National Protocol covering the statutory charging arrangements.

"We acknowledge the work that is still to be done. We are now working closely in partnership with BTP, and are well equipped because of that to tackle the issues which still need addressing. CPS and BTP are committed to improving standards and performance management and welcome the recommendations in this review."

HMCPSI recognises the importance of the statutory charging arrangements in the progress that has been made to date and that CPS and BTP are committed to improving standards of witness care. Since the last report, joint Witness Care Units (WCUs) have been set up under the No Witness No Justice scheme and these too have brought about positive improvements.

The CPS with BTP will continue to work closely to take forward the further work highlighted in the report. In particular the focus will be on continuing to improve performance in the prosecution of Persistent Young Offenders (PYOs), by continuing to reduce the time taken to deal with these cases in line with government targets.

  1. An Executive Summary of the report is available from HMCPSI. Copies of the summary and the full report (after publication) are available on the HMCPSI website For HMCPSI enquiries, please contact Andreas Harding on 020 7210 1143.
  2. For CPS enquiries, please contact the Press Office on 020 7710 6088 or 020 7710 6091.