CPS data summary Quarter 3 2021-2022
- Overall pre-charge and prosecutions
- Domestic Abuse
- Hate crime
- Impact of COVID-19
- About CPS data
- Understanding CPS data definitions and caveats
- Data spreadsheets
This Q3 data release covers the 3-month period 1 October to 31 December 2021, with the previous three quarters provided to illustrate trends.
In Q3 21/22 the key points to note are as follows:
- Pre-Charge Rape Receipts from police have increased by 23.7% from 887 in Q2 21/22 to 1,097 in Q3 21/22. This includes referral for early advice and requests for charging decisions. The volume of suspects charged has also increased, however by a smaller percentage - from 526 in Q2 21/22 to 550 in Q3 21/22, an increase of 4.6%.
- The volume of prosecutions has increased 10.2 per cent from 600 in Q2 21/22 to 661 in Q3 21/22 and the volume of convictions has increased 14.7 per cent from 407 in Q2 21/22 to 467 in Q3 21/22.
- The average time for CPS decision to charge from first submission by the police for advice, early investigative advice or charge has reduced from 159.8 days in Q2 21/22 to 153.2 days in Q3 21/22. However, for All Crime the average time for the police and CPS to charge has continued to increase quarter on quarter, with Q3 21/22 at 41.2 days, from 40.3 in Q2 21/22. For the second consecutive quarter, Domestic Abuse timelines have also seen an increase, from 22.2 in Q2 21/22 to 23.8 in Q3 21/22.
- Overall, the percentage of suspects finalised as ‘pending response – further investigation’ (ie cases on which the police are pursuing further lines of investigation before submitting to the CPS for a charge)” increased from 13.7% in Q2 21/22 to 14.2% in Q3 21/22. There was also an increase in the percentage of suspects finalised as ‘pending response – further investigation’ in rape offences, following a downward trend, increasing from 25.9% in Q2 21/22 to 36.3% in Q3 21/22. This includes cases which police referred for early advice.
- Completed prosecutions overall are reducing quarter on quarter, with a further 4.2% reducing seen from 107,327 in Q2 21/22 to 102,777 in Q3 21/22. These reductions are specifically in the magistrates’ court, as prosecutions are showing an increase in the Crown Court of 6.9% from 15,188 in Q2 21/22 to 16,235 in Q3 21/22. Prosecution volumes for Hate Crime and Rape offences are both on the increase.
- The Crown Court caseload has reduced by a further 2.6% in Q3 21/22 and is now on a downward trajectory. The number of cases remain 50% higher than pre-COVID.
- The magistrates’ court caseload continues to reduce but at a slower rate, due to receipts outnumbering finalisations for the first quarter since Q2 20/21. The caseload remains 14% higher than pre-COVID.
|Receipts from the police|
The volume of receipts recorded has increased by 3.2% from 48,178 in Q2 21/22 to 49,719 in Q3 21/22.
|Timeliness||The average time for the police and CPS to charge has continued to increase quarter on quarter from 40.34 in Q2 21/22 to 41.19 in Q3 21/22.|
The proportion of suspects charged (out of all legal decisions) has remained relatively static dropping 0.1% from 76.1% in Q2 21/22 to 76.0% in Q3 21/22.
The volume of suspects charged has increased by 5.4% from 29,205 in Q2 21/22 to 30,772 in Q3 21/22.
Completed prosecutions are reducing quarter on quarter, with a further 4.2% reduction seen from 107,327 in Q2 21/22 to 102,777 in Q3 21/22.
This is due to reductions in the magistrates’ court, as conversely prosecutions are showing an increase in the Crown Court of 6.9% from 15,188 in Q2 21/22 to 16,235 in Q3 21/22.
The conviction rate has evidenced a slight increase in Q3 21/22 to 81.9% from 81.8% in Q2 21/22.
|Receipts from the police|
Receipts from police have increased by 23.7% from 887 in Q2 21/22 to 1,097 in Q3 21/22.
The average time for CPS decision to charge from first submission by the police for advice, early investigative advice or charge has reduced from 159.8 days in Q2 21/22 to 153.2 days in Q3 21/22.
The proportion of suspects charged (out of all legal decisions) has reduced by 2.6 percentile points from 69.2% in Q2 21/22 to 66.6% in Q3 21/22.
The volume of suspects charged has increased from 526 in Q2 21/22 to 550 in Q3 21/22.
|Pending Response – Further Investigation|
The percentage of decisions that were pending response- further investigation have increased from 25.9% in Q2 21/22 to 36.3% in Q3 21/22.
The volume of prosecutions has increased from 600 in Q2 21/22 to 661 in Q3 21/22.
Conviction rates have continued to increase, from 67.8% in Q2 21/22 to 70.7% in Q3 21/22.
|Receipts from the police|
There were 16,927 receipts received from the police in Q3 21/22 compared to 16,648 in Q2 21/22, an increase of 1.7%.
The average time from to the CPS decision to charge has increased slightly from 22.2 in Q2 21/22 to 23.8 in Q3 21/22. This is the second consecutive quarter timeliness has increased.
The volume of suspects being charged rose from 10,425 in Q2 21/22 to 10,971 in Q3 21/22, an increase of 546 (5.2%).
The proportion charged (out of all legal decisions) for Q3 21/22 (72.2%) is slightly lower than Q2 21/22 (72.8%) and represents the second consecutive quarterly reduction.
The volume of completed prosecutions continues to decline, reducing by 0.7% from 12,996 in Q2 21/22 to 12,881 in Q3 21/22.
The volume of convictions did continue its downward trajectory quarter on quarter, reducing very slightly by 0.3% from 9,813 in Q2 21/22 to 9,788 in Q3 21/22.
The conviction rate increased, from 75.7% to 76%.
The proportion of dropped prosecutions reduced this quarter from 18.1% in Q2 21/22 to 17.5% in Q3 21/22.
|Receipts from the police|
The volume of police receipts increased by 6.3%, from 2,535 in Q2 21/22 to 2,694 in Q2 21/22. The second consecutive quarterly increase in receipts.
The rise in Hate Crime receipts is attributable to Racial Hate Crime (+141 receipts, 7.4% increase) and Homophobic Hate Crime (+48 receipts, 10.7%). All other Hate Crime categories recorded reductions between Q2 21/22 and Q3 21/22.
Completed prosecutions increased by 2.6%, from 3,168 in Q2 21/22 to 3,249 in Q3 21/22.
The proportion of convictions with an announced and recorded sentence uplift has remained relatively consistent over the last four quarters, moving from 78.9% to 78.7% during this quarter.
The conviction rate for Hate Crime has remained stable over the last four quarters with Q3 21/22 recorded a rate of 84.1%, an increase of 0.5% from the previous quarter.
Impact of COVID-19
Despite continued reductions, the CPS live caseload remains above pre-COVID levels
The live caseload has reduced by a further 3.9% this quarter, dropping from 146,833 to 141,152. The live caseload remains 28.9% higher than the pre-COVID quarter (Q4 19/20) figure of 109,469.
Receipts have increased by 2.2% from 91,943 in Q2 to 93,981 in Q3. Finalisations have decreased by 4.2% from 107,327 in Q2 to 102,777 in Q3.
The magistrates’ court caseload is beginning to level off
The magistrates’ court live caseload was falling at an average rate of 11.5% over the last year, however this quarter the rate has reduced to 5%, from 76,990 in Q2 21/22 to 73,106 in Q3 21/22.
The slowing of the caseload reduction is in part due to receipts outnumbering finalisations for the first time since Q2 20/21.
Part of the fall in the magistrates’ court live caseload is due to cases being sent to the Crown Court. These have not left the Criminal Justice System but have moved to the Crown Court live caseload.
The Crown Court caseload is beginning to reduce
The live caseload in the Crown Court has reduced by a further 2.6%, dropping from 69,843 in Q2 21/22 to 68,046 in Q3 21/22. The caseload has reached it’s peak and is now on a downward trajectory.
Finalisations significantly outnumbered receipts in this quarter, contributing to this reduction.
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.
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 and those dealt with in specialised casework handled by CPS Central Casework Divisions. This includes 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 release is derived from the CPS Case Management System (CMS) and its associated Management Information System (MIS). The data is held in 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
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.
Of all the suspects referred by the police, pre-charge decisions are those where the CPS has completed making a decision on whether to charge; take no further action; recommend an out of court disposal; record thecase as Pending response - for further investigation; 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; and recommend an out of court disposal.
Charging decisions are where the 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 the 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 taken into consideration (TIC) issued by the CPS at pre-charge stage.
Pre-charge non-legal decisions include: pending response - further investigation finalised and ‘other’.
Pending response - further investigation:
Decisions recorded as Pending response - further investigation are finalised in the CPS Case Management System for administrative reasons following any further requests of the investigating authority. These are not legal decisions and may not be the end of the case.
These decisions were formerly known as Administrative finalisations. The change in the term used is designed to provide a clearer explanation of what has happened to the case. This follows recommendations to change the terminology used, both by Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and in the November 2020 shadow report: The Decriminalisation of Rape. This is a report by The Centre for Women’s Justice, the End Violence against Women Coalition, et al. in response to the England and Wales Governments' “end to end” Review of the Criminal Justice System’s Response to Rape.
The reasons for recording a Pending response - further investigation outcome are:
- 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Committal proceedings in which the defendant is discharged.
Reasons for non-convictions
All cases resulting in an outcome other than a conviction are allocated a reason explaining why the case failed. If more than one reason applies, the principal reason is selected. Cases resulting in a post charge administrative finalisation are allocated the reason 'Admin Finalised'; no other reason need be recorded. If the defendant pleads not guilty, evidence is heard and the defence is required to present its case; and the case then results in acquittal or dismissal, then the reason 'Acquittal after trial' is allocated; no other reason applies. A reason must be allocated for all other non-conviction outcomes i.e. discontinued, withdrawn, no evidence offered, no case to answer, prosecution stayed, indictment stayed, left on file, judge directed acquittal, discharged committal.
Acquittals after trial: The defendant is found not guilty by the magistrates or jury after a contested hearing in which the defence is called on to present its case. (Cases dismissed no case to answer or judge directed acquittals are not included).
Post-charge administrative finalisation: When a prosecution cannot proceed because a defendant: has failed to appear at court and a Bench Warrant has been issued for his or her arrest; or the defendant has died, or is found unfit to plead; or where proceedings are adjourned indefinitely. If a Bench Warrant is executed the case may be reopened.
Complainant/Witness issues: This reason should be used when the evidence of the complainant/witness supports the prosecution case, but one or more of the following apply:
the complainant/witness fails to attend;
the complainant/witness refuses to be called;
the complainant/witness refuses to give evidence as a witness;
the complainant/witness withdraws a complaint;
the case includes complainants/witnesses who have been intimidated but it is inappropriate to compel them to attend court.
If the evidence of the complainant/witness fails to support the prosecution of the defendant including issues of credibility leading to a non-conviction outcome, but the complainant/witness has not retracted.
Disclosure reasons: These are reasons identifying where an issue with the disclosure of unused material occurred, including timeliness or failure to provide material. The disclosure reasons can be disaggregated to provide more detailed analysis of the reason for the non-conviction outcome.
- D77 Police/Investigator fault, including the timeliness and quality of disclosure – this reason applies when issues arising in the unused material were not dealt with adequately by the investigator, including failure to bring material to the attention of the prosecutor in a timely way and failing to provide schedules or requested material.
- D78 CPS fault, including timeliness and quality of disclosure – this reason applies when issues arising in the unused material were not dealt with adequately by the prosecutor, including failure to review material and incorrect decision making on disclosure.
- D79 Other party fault, including timeliness and quality of disclosure - applies when issues in the unused material were the fault of a third party, for example in failing to provide access to relevant material in a timely way or refusing to allow access to material required to enable any trial to be fair.
- D80 No fault: Timeliness and quality acceptable but disclosure was a factor - applies if the case ended because of issues with the content of unused material but in circumstances where neither investigator, prosecutor or third party were at fault.
- D81 No fault: Public interest immunity issues - applies if the case is stopped because disclosure of material is required which, because of its nature, would have the effect of disclosing that which the prosecutor considers should not in the public interest be disclosed.
Evidential reasons: These include all other evidential reasons.
Public interest reasons: These include all other public interest reasons.
Other: This applies to cases where: there is a CPS process failure, such as papers or evidence not being served and the court refuses to grant an adjournment; where a non-conviction outcome stems from either an issue of diplomatic immunity or the deportation or extradition of the defendant; or where no other reason applies.
Prosecution 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 12 categories: 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 2.1-2.31, Prosecution Data Tables.
Pre-charge principal offence category data
The Pre-Charge Principal Offence Category indicates the most serious alleged offence being considered at the first charging decision consultation for that suspect, irrespective of the outcome of the charging decision. If a decision is made to charge a suspect, the Pre-Charge Principal Offence Category should be allocated based on the most serious offence considered not the most serious offence which may be subsequently charged. In all such cases the Principal Offence category to be recorded is that which applied at the first consultation, regardless of whether this is more serious, or less serious, than would have applied later in the life of the case.
Offences are divided into 12 categories: 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 pre-charge principal offence for cases recorded as pending response – further investigation. These are excluded from Table 6.1, Pre-Charge Data Tables.
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.
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;
- 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.
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.
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))
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.
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.
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
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.
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.