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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Statement

|Publication

Introduction

The Crown Prosecution Service is at the heart of the criminal justice system in England and Wales, working with our partners to protect the public and create a safe society.

We prosecute independently, without bias and work to deliver justice in every case. CPS prosecutors are always fair and objective, and their decisions taken with integrity to help secure justice for victims, witnesses, defendants and the public.

Our duty is to make sure the right person is prosecuted for the right offences, and to bring offenders to justice where possible, without fear or favour.

Vision

Our goal is to be a leading voice in transforming the criminal justice system, using our legal expertise and digital capability to make the public safer and build the confidence of our diverse communities.

Our values are:

  • Treat everyone with respect - we will prosecute independently, without bias and will seek to deliver justice in every case.
  • Be independent and fair - we will explain our decisions, set clear standards about the service the public can expect from us and be honest if we make a mistake.
  • Be honest and open - we will respect each other, our colleagues and the public we serve, recognising that there are people behind every case.
  • Behave professionally and strive for excellence - we will work as one team, always seeking new and better ways to deliver the best possible service for the public. We will be efficient and responsible with tax-payers' money.

The Code for Crown Prosecutors

The Code for Crown Prosecutors (The Code) governs how we make decisions about the prosecution of cases. Equality lies at the heart of The Code’s general principles.

When making decisions, prosecutors must be fair and objective. The ethnic or national origin, gender, disability, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation or gender identity of the suspect, defendant, victim or any witness must not influence their decisions. Neither must political considerations. Prosecutors must always act in the interests of justice and not solely for the purpose of obtaining a conviction.

Equality legislation

The Equality Act 2010 provides protection for the individual against prohibited conduct such as direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation and a duty to make adjustments for disabled people in certain circumstances.

The law imposes a general duty on public authorities including the CPS, to have due regard in all that we do to:

  • eliminate discrimination, harassment and  victimisation;
  • advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it; and
  • foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

The relevant protected characteristics are: age; disability; gender reassignment; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation (Marriage and civil partnerships - only for the first aim of the duty).

Specific duties also apply to listed authorities including the CPS and essentially provide guidance on how to better meet the general duties. A central element in this context will be the setting and publication of clear equality objectives and related data by which the public can assess our performance and hold us to account.

Equality, diversity and inclusion statement

To ensure that the principles contained in The Code and the duties imposed by equality legislation inform our day-to-day business, we will embed equality into our planning, our decisions and actions in relation to our prosecution and employment practices. Equality law requires that we do this; however, we also accept a moral obligation, because it is the right thing to do and because we cannot aspire to be a just society without seeking to be a fairer society.

Through increased transparency and robust scrutiny of how we treat people, how we prosecute crime and how we engage with communities, we will ensure that equality remains at the heart of CPS business. This is reflected in our Individual Quality Assessment Framework, a set of expected performance standards in all aspects of our work.

We will ensure that all major structural and policy changes are impact assessed to ensure that we obtain the maximum benefit from the changes and avoid any adverse impact on protected groups.

We are proud to be recognised as having one of the Civil Service’s most diverse workforces. We know there is a strong link between a diverse workforce and inclusive culture, and public trust and confidence in the CPS. While we have a diverse workforce nationally, there is more we can do at all levels and in different geographical regions. We commit to creating an inclusive and respectful working environment for all our people, reflecting the communities we serve and drawing on their rich and diverse perspectives to improve the services we deliver.

Approach to equalities

For the CPS, equality diversity and inclusion is about more than just meeting our statutory requirements. Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to delivering fair prosecutions, achieving equitable employment practice and building the confidence of all the communities we serve.
 
We recognise the importance of working closely with community representatives, voluntary sector organisations and academics across the various protected characteristics, and welcome their perspectives, scrutiny and insight to inform the service we provide to victims, witnesses and defendants who may belong to several different communities. For example, the impact of hate crime on a disabled black person or the impact of domestic violence on a gay man will be multi-layered and complex. In order to encourage people from diverse communities to report crime, to give their best evidence and to stay with the prosecution process to its conclusion, the CPS needs to respond to the complex nature of how different people experience crime and the different impacts it can have on their lives.

We acknowledge the need for continuous improvement and the need to recognise what we can do to achieve positive change. In relation to disability, this will mean that we focus on societal/organisational barriers that disadvantage, disempower and disable people because of their impairments. One of our key equality activities, therefore, is to review CPS’ approach to casework involving victims, witnesses and defendants with all forms of disability including mental health issues and learning disabilities to improve their experiences of the criminal justice system; by removing any barriers that might prevent access.

Delivering on our obligations in accordance with the Equality Act 2010 will mean greater ownership of the equality agenda at a local level, through the development of local action plans and strategies that demonstrate how Areas engage with staff and local communities in order to improve the quality of our prosecutions, service delivery and employment practices. National guidance and support will be made available to ensure effective equality proofing within business planning and performance   processes.

To support the development of more effective and inclusive employment and service delivery policies and practices, we will review all our policies and functions to assess their relevance to equality and diversity.

Measuring progress

We will track and measure progress in a number of ways including:

  • the Hate Crime and VAWG Assurance Schemes;
  • progress against the inclusion and community engagement elements of  CPS 2025;
  • the quarterly review of prosecution outcomes by ethnicity, age and gender;
  • the Area Performance Review (APR) process;
  • the Inclusion and Community Engagement Assurance Board
  • the quarterly Hate Crime and VAWG newsletters;
  • the CPS Quarterly Reports on Hate Crime and VAWG;
  • the inclusion of Hate Crimes, Violence against Women and Community Engagement in the CPS performance review system and its quarterly reporting and through themed reviews on key equality agendas;
  • feedback from communities, including our Local Scrutiny Involvement Panels;
  • qualitative employee engagement exercises;
  • the CPS Annual Equalities in Employment Report;
  • Civil Service People Survey Outcomes;
  • the Individual Quality Assurance Framework;
  • independent external benchmarking with partner organisations including Business in the Community and Business Disability Forum; and
  • the Certificate of Assurance process.

Conclusion

We recognise that building confidence in communities affected by crime, being fair about how we deal with defendants from all backgrounds and valuing our staff are clearly linked. We will continue to work hard and where necessary with partners to increase levels of confidence among the diverse communities we serve. Trust in the legitimacy and fairness of the criminal justice system may be significant factor in securing co-operation from victims and witnesses, for example in terms of reporting crimes to the police and giving evidence in court.

The same person may encounter the criminal justice system as a suspect, a defendant, a victim or a witness. A victim of hate crime may not come forward to report their experience if they have had a negative or unfair experience as a suspect or defendant. A talented person may not apply for a job if they do not perceive the CPS to be a fair and welcoming organisation. We are determined to better understand these links and by so doing to continue to challenge, our thinking and our practice in order to meet our goal.

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