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CPS data summary Quarter 2 2019-2020

|Publication, Hate crime , Domestic abuse , Sexual offences

Introduction

This data release illustrates several long-term challenges for the criminal justice system. There is an ongoing decrease in receipts from the police, and as a result, a continuing decline in the volume of defendants prosecuted in the magistrates’ and crown courts. The average time to charge is increasing. This is linked to the increasing complexity of offences prosecuted, evidenced by an increase in the average number of consultations per case across a range of offences. In publishing this data, the CPS demonstrates its commitment to working with partners in the criminal justice system to understand and address these shared challenges.

Overall pre-charge and prosecutions

ReceiptsPre-charge receipts from the police have fallen in each of the past four quarters, from 63,384 in Q3 2018/19 to 56,966 in Q2 19/20.
TimelinessPre-charge timeliness has gone down in each of the previous four quarters, from 21.88 days in Q3 2018/19 to 33 days in Q2 2019/20.  This pattern - an increase since Q3 2018/19 - is consistent across all offences. This is matched by an increase in the number of consultations taken to complete a pre charge decision. 
ChargingThe proportion of suspects charged (out of all legal decisions) has increased steadily, with a Q2 RYTD (Relative Year To Date) figure of 74.6% of suspects charged.
Administratively finalisedThe proportion of admin finalised decisions has decreased, from 16.1% of all pre-charge decisions in Q3 18/19 to 12.8% in Q2 19/20.
Completed prosecutionsThe Q2 RYTD volume of completed prosecutions is 479,254, in comparison with 494,811 prosecutions in 2018/19.
ConvictionsThe volume of convictions has fluctuated over the past four quarters, with a Q2 RYTD volume of 402,494, and a conviction rate of 84.0%.

Hate crime

ReceiptsPre-charge receipts from the police fell by 21.2% from 2,653 to 2,091. The Q2 RYTD figure of 9,432 compares to 10,749 from 2018/19.
Completed prosecutionsCompleted prosecutions (across all strands of hate crime) fell from 3,110 in Q3 2018/19 to 2,978 in Q2 19/20. The Q2 RYTD figure is 12,085 which compares to 12,828 in 2018/19.
Uplifts (Disability Hate Crime)For disability hate crime, the proportion of convictions which included an announced and recorded sentence uplift fell from 35.2% in Q3 2018/19 to 30.1% in Q2 2019/20.
Uplifts (general)The proportion of convictions which included an announced and recorded sentence uplift increased from 73.6% in Q3 2018/19 to 78.3% in Q2 19/20, with 75.7% Q2 RYTD.

Domestic Abuse

ReceiptsPre-charge receipts from the police fell from 98,470 in 2018/19 to 86,665 Q2 RYTD - a fall of 12.0%.
TimelinessTimeliness for charging decisions went down from an average of 8.9 days in 2018/19 to an average of 12.1 days in Q2 RYTD.
ChargingOf all legal pre-charge decisions, the volume charged fell from 67,462 in 2018/19 to 59,685 in Q2 RYTD, a fall of 11.5%, and the proportion charged (out of all legal decisions) fell from 74.3% to 73.0%.
Completed prosecutionsCompleted prosecutions fell from 78,624 in 2018/19 to 69,756 in Q2 RYTD, a fall of 11.3%.

Rape

NB - same pattern holds for ‘Child Abuse’, and (post charge) ‘Sexual Offences’ and ‘Child Sexual Abuse’

ReceiptsThe volume of pre-charge receipts from the police fell by 14.4% in Q2 RYTD compared with 22.8% in 2018/19.
TimelinessThe average time for the police and CPS to charge fell slightly in Q2, but overall the trend is an increase - 132 days for Q2 RYTD compared with 108 in 2018/19.
Completed ProsecutionsThe volume of completed prosecutions fell by 22.8% in Q2 RYTD compared with 32.8% in 2018/19
ChargingThe proportion of suspects charged (out of all legal decisions) has increased, from 47.0% Q3 2018/19 to 59.4% Q2 2019/20. There is an increase of 1.4% in the volume of suspects charged in Q2 RYTD compared with a fall of 37.7% in 2018/19, with a higher charging rate of 52.0%.
Administratively finalised‘Admin finalised’ has fluctuated over the previous two quarters, but fell by 1.6% in Q2 RYTD compared with a rise of 12.1% in 2018/19.
Dropped prosecutionsThere were fewer prosecutions dropped, with a decrease over the past three quarters, and a fall from 14.0% in 2018/19 to 12.5% Q2 RYTD.

The CPS uses management information to understand and address performance issues. This data is regularly shared with partners in the Criminal Justice System to improve understanding of efficiency and effectiveness, and where necessary, support the development of system-wide reforms.

Previously, the CPS has published annual data on Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) offences and hate crime. In order to enhance accountability and transparency in regards to CPS performance, the CPS will now publish quarterly data on a wider range of offence types.

The CPS does not publish official statistics. The official statistics relating to crime and policing are maintained by the Home Office and Office for National Statistics. Official statistics relating to sentencing, criminal court proceedings, offenders brought to justice, the courts and the judiciary are maintained by the Ministry of Justice. CPS management information is derived from the CPS case management system, and as with any large scale recording system, data is subject to possible errors in entry and processing. The figures are provisional and subject to change as more information is recorded by the CPS.

Note in particular that the CPS maintains a central record of prosecution outcomes with reference to a number of case monitoring flags, including modern slavery and human trafficking, hate crime, domestic abuse, and rape. CPS statistics are dependent upon lawyers and administrative staff identifying and correctly flagging cases on the case management system. CPS data is accurate only to the extent that flags have been correctly applied. Note also that:

  • A flag is applied at the onset of any case referred by the police to the CPS, and remains in place even if the charge is not proceeded with, is amended, or dropped.
  • A flag may be applied at a later point which differs from that originally identified by the police.
  • Although charges specifically related to a flag may be considered at the time of the pre-charge decision, the defendant may in fact be charged with another offence. Similarly, there may be cases where a person is convicted of a lesser offence than that with which they were proceeded against.

Understanding CPS Data Definitions and Caveats

In these statistics, a defendant represents one person in a single set of proceedings, which may involve one or more charges. A set of proceedings usually relates to an incident or series of related incidents that are the subject of a police file. If a set of proceedings relates to more than one person then each is counted as a defendant. Sometimes one person is involved in several sets of proceedings during the same year: if so, he or she is counted as a defendant on each occasion.

The quarterly casework statistics in these reports, comprise defendants dealt with by the 14 CPS Areas, the specialised casework handled by the Central Casework Divisions which include, those proceedings previously conducted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Department of Health (DoH) and the former Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office.

The data that forms the basis of this data release is derived from the CPS Case Management System (CMS) and its associated Management Information System (MIS). The data is held within a database within the MIS, based on defendants. The tables include total data on all defendants irrespective of sex or gender. Data has been broken down by overall volumes and proportions.

Pre-charge decision data

Pre-charge receipts:

The total number of suspects referred by the police to the CPS for a charging decision.

The number of pre-charge receipts, for different crime types, referred by the police relies on (a) the police identifying and flagging the cases, by suspect, prior to being referred to CPS and (b) CPS administrators identifying and flagging those cases on the CPS Casework Management System, when they are first registered.

Pre-charge decisions:

Of all the suspects referred by the police, pre-charge decisions are those where CPS has completed making a decision on whether to charge, take no further action, recommend an out of court decision, administratively finalise or ‘other’. The volume of pre-charge decisions, for each different crime type, completed by the CPS will be a total of those referred by the police (flagged by the police and CPS at registration) together with any flagged by CPS prosecutors and administrators at a later date, but before the final pre-charge decision is completed. The total pre-charge decision data is based on the date the charging advice was completed and provided to the police. Therefore, data in this data release may include pre-charge decisions on cases referred by the police to the CPS in previous quarters or years.

Pre-charge legal decisions include: charge, take no further action or recommend an out of court decision.

Charged:

Charging decisions are where CPS is satisfied that the legal test for prosecution, set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors is met: there is enough evidence to provide a ‘realistic prospect of conviction’ against each defendant and the prosecution is in the public interest.

No Further Action:

NFA decisions are where CPS has decided that no further action should be taken; the case cannot proceed to charge as it does not meet the Code for Crown Prosecutor test, for either evidential or public interest reasons.

Out of court disposals:

A simple caution, conditional caution, reprimand, final warning or TIC (taken into consideration) recommended by the CPS at pre-charge stage.

Pre-charge non-legal decisions include: administratively finalised and ‘other’.

Administratively finalised:

Administratively finalised decisions are not legal decisions and may not be the end of the case.

The reasons for recording an administrative finalisation include:

  • The CPS may ask the police to provide further information where there is insufficient evidence to make a charging decision, or the police are requesting early investigative advice. If the police do not respond within three months, following reminders, the case is closed on CMS. If the police provide additional evidence, the case is reopened in CMS and, if possible, a charging decision is made.
  • Cases where the CPS have advised the police to charge but the suspect has not been charged, due to the suspect not answering police bail or being located, will also be administratively finalised. If the suspect is subsequently located and charged the case is reopened in CMS.
  • Cases where a file submission has been rejected at triage because items are missing, and the police have been asked to supply the additional material and have not responded to reminders.
  • Where the case has been returned to the police, with or without a lawyer’s advice and/or actions, and the police decide to take no further action on the allegation.
  • The suspect has died.

Other:

The result of the charging decision is not known or has not been given for that suspect.

Prosecution Outcomes Data

CPS outcomes are recorded on a defendant basis. In some cases, a number of defendants may be prosecuted together. All defendants may be convicted; all may be acquitted; or some may be convicted and others acquitted.

Conviction Outcomes:

Guilty pleas:

The defendant pleads guilty. The data includes defendants who pleaded guilty to some charges, and were either convicted or dismissed after trial of other charges.

Convictions after trial:

The defendant pleads not guilty but is convicted by the magistrates or by a jury after evidence is heard.

Proofs in absence:

These are mostly minor motoring matters which are heard by the court in the absence of the defendant.

Non-Conviction Outcomes:

Acquittals/Dismissals after trial:

The defendant pleads not guilty and, following a trial, is acquitted by the jury or proceedings are dismissed by the magistrates.

Prosecutions Dropped:

Consideration of the evidence and of the public interest may lead the CPS to discontinue or drop proceedings at any time before the start of the trial. The figures include both cases discontinued in advance of the hearing, where the CPS offered no evidence and those withdrawn at court. Also included are cases in which the defendant was bound over to keep the peace.

Administratively Finalised (post charge):

When the prosecution cannot proceed because the defendant has failed to appear at court and a Bench Warrant has been issued for his or her arrest; or the defendant has died; been found unfit to plead; or where proceedings are adjourned indefinitely. If the police trace a missing defendant, then proceedings can continue.

Discharged:

Committal proceedings in which the defendant is discharged.

Principal Offence Category Data

The Principal Offence Category indicates the most serious offence with which the defendant is charged at the time of finalisation. Where the nature of the charges alters during the life of a case, the Principal Offence at the time of finalisation may be different than would have seemed appropriate at an earlier stage of proceedings. In all such cases the Principal Offence category to be recorded is that which applies at finalisation, regardless of whether this is more serious, or less serious, than would have applied earlier in the life of the case.   

Offences are divided into: homicide, offences against the person, sexual offences, burglary, robbery, theft & handling, fraud & forgery, criminal damage, drugs offences, public order, motoring, and all other offences excluding motoring.

CPS records do not identify the principal offence for cases resulting in an administrative finalisation or where the defendant has been committed for sentence. These are excluded from Table 3.1, Prosecution Data Tables.

Monitoring Flags

The CPS monitoring of cases involving offences of child abuse, crimes against older people, domestic abuse, hate crime, modern slavery and rape involve the application of monitoring ‘flags’ or case-markers to applicable cases that are recorded on the CPS’ electronic Case Management System (CMS). The data that is produced through the application of the flag is primarily used for monitoring performance on all cases that involve allegations or charges where these categories of criminal offending apply. The data is accurate only to the extent that the flags have been correctly applied.

The flag is applied from the onset of the case and will remain in place even if the charges are later amended or dropped. If a case commences under a different offence but during the prosecution an applicable charge is preferred, the case is flagged at that stage.

Child Abuse:

Any criminal offence which falls within the criteria set out in Appendix A of the Working Together to Safeguard Children document and/or as defined in the CPS legal guidance on Child Abuse and involves a victim under the age of 18.

Child abuse includes physical, emotional and sexual criminal offences, as well as neglect, of a child. Such cases would normally include, for example:

  • parental assault where reasonable chastisement is not a defence;
  • sexual offences;
  • child homicides;
  • child cruelty, including neglect;
  • child prostitution;
  • harassment;
  • abandonment of a child;
  • forced marriage involving an under 18 year-old;
  • child pornography;
  • trafficked children;
  • familial abduction; and
  • non-recent child abuse where victim is now an adult.

Cases that would not normally be expected to be flagged include:

  • motoring offences where the child has been injured or killed;
  • medical negligence; and
  • property offences.

Crime against an Older Person:

Where the victim is 65 or over, any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be committed by reason of the victim’s vulnerability through age or presumed vulnerability through age.

Disability Hate Crime:

Any incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards a person because of their disability or perceived disability.

Domestic Abuse:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between those who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. Family members include mother, father, son, daughter, sister, and grandparents, whether directly related, in laws or step family. This is not an exhaustive list and may also be extended to uncles, aunts, cousins etc.

Homophobic Crime:

Any incident which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation.

Human Trafficking/Modern Slavery

The following offences are flagged as human trafficking/modern slavery.

  • Offences committed prior to 31st July 2015, are:
  • Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Section 57)
  • Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Section 58)
  • Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Section 59)
  • Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Section 59A)
  • Asylum and Immigration [Treatment of Claimants] Act 2004 Section 4(1)
  • Asylum and Immigration [Treatment of Claimants] Act 2004 Section 4(2)
  • Asylum and Immigration [Treatment of Claimants] Act 2004 Section 4(3)
  • Asylum and Immigration [Treatment of Claimants] Act 2004 Section 4(1A)
  • Asylum and Immigration [Treatment of Claimants] Act 2004 Section 4(1B)
  • Asylum and Immigration [Treatment of Claimants] Act 2004 Section 4(1C)
  • Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (Section 71)

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 came into force on 31st July 2015. The offences to be flagged after this date are:

  • Modern Slavery Act 2015 (Section 1(a))
  • Modern Slavery Act 2015 (Section 1(b))
  • Modern Slavery Act 2015 (Section 2)
  • Modern Slavery Act 2015 (Section 4(2))
  • Modern Slavery Act 2015 (Section 4(3))

Racist Crime:

Any incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s ethnicity or perceived ethnicity.

Religious Crime:

Any incident which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s religion or perceived religion.

Rape:

The following offences are defined and flagged as rape by the CPS.

  • S1 Sexual Offences Act 1956
  • S5 Sexual Offences Act 1956
  • S1 Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • S5 Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • S30(3) Sexual Offences act 2003, also
    • An attempt to commit any of the above offences under the Criminal Attempts Act 1981
    • Incitement or conspiracy to commit any of the above offences

Transphobic Crime:

Any incident which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s transgender identity or perceived transgender identity.

Data Caveats

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) caseload data are available through its Case Management System (CMS) and associated Management Information System (MIS). The CPS collects data to assist in the effective management of its prosecution functions. The CPS does not collect data which constitutes official statistics as defined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.

These data have been drawn from the CPS's administrative IT system, which, as with any large scale recording system, is subject to possible errors with data entry and processing. The figures are provisional and subject to change as more information is recorded by the CPS. We are committed to improving the quality of our data and from mid-June 2015 introduced a new data assurance regime which may explain some unexpected variance in some future data sets.

The official statistics relating to crime and policing are maintained by the Home Office and the official statistics relating to sentencing, criminal court proceedings, offenders brought to justice, the courts and the judiciary are maintained by the Ministry of Justice.

Available to download

CPS Prosecution Data Tables, Year Ending September 2019 - Excel spreadsheet
CPS Prosecution Crime Types Data, Year Ending September 2019
CPS Pre-Charge Data, Year Ending September 2019
CPS Prosecution Demographic Data Tables, Year Ending September 2019

Further reading

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