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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

Prosecuting Special Crime

Deaths in custody, allegations against the police, corporate manslaughter, medical manslaughter, serious public corruption, election offences, appeals to the House of Lords and extradition are just some of the types of cases dealt with by specialist Crown Prosecutors in the Special Crime Division.

Find out more about extradition

Find out more about how we prosecute bribery and corruption

Find out how we prosecute election offences

Find out more about how we deal with allegations against the police

Find out about our prosecution policy for deaths in custody

Find out about unduly lenient sentences

Officer to be charged with perjury following death of Sean Rigg


The CPS will now bring criminal proceedings against police officer Paul White for perjury following the investigation into the evidence given by the officer at the inquest concerning the death of Sean Rigg.

This follows a review of the case under the recently introduced CPS Victims' Right to Review (VRR) scheme.

Sean Rigg died on 21 August 2008 whilst in police custody at Brixton police station. Mr Rigg was initially held in the police van for 11 minutes before being transferred into the police station. Following the investigation into Sean Rigg's death, Paul White gave evidence at his inquest in July 2012.

Sue Hemming, Head of CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division said: "The CPS Victims' Right to Review scheme allows victims to seek a review of a CPS decision not to prosecute in certain circumstances. In this case the complainant's bereaved family were eligible to apply and the case was referred to me to decide if the original decision not to prosecute was correct.

"After careful consideration of the evidence, I have decided that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and that it is in the public interest to charge Paul White with one count of perjury which relates to the evidence he gave at Mr Rigg's inquest and therefore the original decision should be overturned. I also considered evidence against another police officer but agreed with the original decision not to prosecute due to insufficient evidence.

"Proceedings are now active and the defendant has the right to a fair trial. It is very important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings."

Paul White will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on 8 September 2015.


Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  3. At 31 March 2014 we employed a workforce of approximately 6237 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2226 prosecutors and 3629 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:
  4. 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. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.