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Prosecuting Violent Crime

Violent crime covers a wide range of offences including:

These crimes are extremely rare, they account for only about 1% of all crime. Yet they cause significant harm, both to individual victims and their families in terms of physical injury and psychological trauma, and to society more widely in terms of fear. We are committed to prosecuting violent crimes efficiently and effectively.

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 leads initiative on Gangs, Guns and Knives

29/06/2007

The criminal justice system must improve public confidence through greater community engagement to tackle knife and gun crime the Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald QC, told a CPS-led conference on Gangs, Guns and Knives today.

Sir Ken said that the Crown Prosecution Service is working hard at engaging with communities whose close cooperation is needed to build successful cases. "In the fight against gun and knife crime, as in the fight against terrorism, engaging with communities is becoming an integral part of our management, planning and strategic decision-making, as well as a crucial part of front-line prosecutor activity."

It is equally important for all agencies to tackle the issue together he told the conference of criminal justice representatives and community leaders. "Gun and knife crime often results in a tragic waste of life, not only of its victims, but also of its perpetrators. It requires the whole hearted commitment of everyone involved from youth workers to prosecutors."

The conference has been set up by the CPS to bring together people working in the criminal justice system, community representatives and individuals who have been directly affected by knife and gun crime. Delegates will have opportunities to discuss a range of issues and concerns and to consider ways of working more closely together in the future.

Weapons-related offences affect different parts of the population to different degrees Sir Ken told delegates, with young people, those living in urban and poor areas and black and minority ethnic communities being disproportionately affected. "The uneven social distribution of the problem raises particular challenges for the CPS and other criminal justice agencies. This is because those communities most severely affected are often those whose trust and confidence in the criminal justice system is the most fragile.

"The CPS is determined to use its powers to protect witnesses who take risks in giving evidence. It goes without saying that prosecuting weapons-based crime often demands great courage of victims and witnesses. And anything we can do to encourage their coming forward increases our chance of obtaining convictions," said Sir Ken.

"We now have the power to use special measures such as anonymity, voice distortion, video link facilities and screens, to assist those giving evidence to do so safely."

Kola Williams, Director of NW10, a community centre in Harlesden, said: "Working with the people who suffer the consequences of gun and knife crime soaks up enormous amounts of our time.

"Each case is individual but the victims are not only the person who has been killed or injured but also the wider family, it is they who have to live out the nightmare each day for the rest of their lives.

"I echo the comments of Sir Ken Macdonald and share his concerns. This conference creates an important opportunity for change. All statutory agencies have an important role to play, however often the answers lie deep within communities and beyond their reach where trust and confidentiality is everything.

"We mediate in these challenging conditions either between warring factions as they prepare to engage or else afterwards seeking to bring peace, harmony and understanding to all."

  1. The conference was organised by Nazir Afzal, CPS London West Sector Director. The purpose was to bring together criminal justice professionals, criminal justice partners and community representatives to improve engagement with communities about these crimes and to look at ways of tackling these crimes more effectively. Through the conference the CPS and its partners aimed to listen to community representatives' concerns, explain current policies, and to discuss the way forward.
  2. Kola Williams jointly owns a community centre in Harlesden where staff seek to divert those most affected by the pain and suffering caused by these issues to do something better with their lives by creating sustainable solutions within communities.
  3. Media enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7710 6091.