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CPS statement on House of Commons Justice Committee report

06/08/2009

Keir Starmer QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, said today:

"I welcome the report from the House of Commons Justice Committee which recognises the pivotal role of the Crown Prosecution Service as the gatekeeper of the criminal justice system. I am glad that it commends both the CPS's collaborative working with police and the improvements made in our engagement with victims and witnesses.

"Since the CPS gave evidence to the Committee many advances have been made on the issues it has raised. In particular the 'Public Prosecution Service: Setting the Standard document', published on 23 July, conveys our vision, gives clarity to the role of the prosecutor and raises a debate about the future of criminal justice.  It sets out a coherent way forward, explaining our work so that it can be clearly understood by the public. The document also makes clear that we are tackling the problem of inconsistency through the introduction of core quality standards against which we will be held publicly accountable.  

"In welcoming our efforts to engage better with victims and witnesses, the Committee raised some concerns about those with mental health problems. On 3 August, we launched two policies designed to ensure that those who have mental health problems or a learning disability will have the same access to justice as anyone else, being able to give evidence and to have that evidence treated seriously.

"I welcome the fact that the Committee has not recognised the case against the CPS advocacy strategy and that it believes that it will lead to an 'attractive' scenario in which advocates move freely between employed and self-employed work.   We recognise there is a need for better case management and are determined that quality will be at the heart of the advocacy service the CPS provides. The introduction of the Advocacy Quality Management Strategy will monitor performance and target training to meet this objective.

"We are committed to becoming more responsive to local communities while delivering a consistent national service.  Core quality standards will ensure that we deliver what is expected in every key aspect of our work and through the introduction of the community prosecutor we will be more aware of and responsive to the communities we serve. Fair, fearless and effective; open, honest and transparent; protective, supportive and independent: these are the qualities that the public has a right to expect of its public prosecution service. We are determined to meet those expectations."

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