The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the main prosecuting authority in England and Wales.
The CPS has 14 Areas across the country, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor and the South East Area is responsible for prosecuting cases in Kent, Surrey and Sussex only.
We serve 4.5 million people and the area we cover is spread over 3,700 square miles, including major entry ports to the UK, such as London Gatwick Airport, the Channel Tunnel and the Port of Dover.
CPS South East is headed up by Chief Crown Prosecutor Frank Ferguson, who is supported by Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutors Paul Stimson and Adele Kelly and Area Business Manager Jennifer Offord.
We have over 250 members of staff, consisting of lawyers, paralegal officers and administrators. Our staff work in one of three different teams out of offices in Canterbury, Brighton, Guildford, Newcastle and Middlesbrough.
We also have an Area Business Centre, which includes specialist administrative functions such as human resources, finance, communications and performance, all of which help to support the rest of the business.
Executive Team Toggle accordion
Frank Ferguson, Chief Crown Prosecutor
Frank Ferguson took up the role of Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS South East in November 2018.
Frank, a barrister, joined the CPS in 1992 as a legal trainee in the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Area. He then became a Higher Courts Advocate and Unit Head in Norwich, before moving to CPS Direct between 2004 and 2006 as a legal manager.
He was Chief Crown Prosecutor in Cambridgeshire from 2010 and subsequently Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for the East of England, with direct oversight of the most serious and complex cases.
Prior to joining CPS South East, he was Deputy Head in the Specialist Fraud Division with responsibility for London, before moving to the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division as Head of Special Crime.
Frank has led national projects, such as the implementation of the Speaking to Witnesses at Court Guidance and is national lead for immigration crime.
Paul Stimson, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor
Paul Stimson joined the CPS as a Senior Crown Prosecutor in the East Midlands, first working on the advocacy team in the Magistrates’ Court. He became a Crown Advocate, before being promoted to the position of District Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Advocacy team in 2013.
He became a Senior District Crown Prosecutor in 2015, before taking up his current role as Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor in the South East in May 2017.
Adele Kelly, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor
Adele joined the CPS in 2004 from private practice in the City, where she specialised in commercial and insurance litigation matters. She was initially a casual prosecutor in the Thames and Chiltern area, before becoming a substantive Crown Prosecutor and then Senior Crown Prosecutor.
She moved across to the Crown Court Team, before deputising as District Crown Prosecutor (DCP) and then taking up the role on a substantive basis in 2014, moving to CPS London to lead the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) Team.
She returned to CPS Thames and Chiltern in June 2017, as Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor (DCCP) with responsibility for Magistrates’ Court work before taking up her current role as DCCP in the South East in May 2018.
Kirsty Hipwood, Area Business Manager
Kirsty Hipwood joined the CPS in November 2001 as an administrative officer based in CPS Headquarters.
Kirsty has undertaken a number of business operational roles across, including Resource Deployment Manager, Senior Finance Manager and Senior Business Manager.
Kirsty was seconded to the South East Area in January 2015 and became the Temporary Area Business Manager in April 2016, before the post was made permanent in December 2016.
Jennifer Offord, Area Business Manager
Jennifer joined the CPS in 2006 as a witness care officer, progressing to manage the witness care unit. Since then, she has worked in a variety of roles, including Paralegal Business Manager and as a project manager in our Headquarters team, responsible for a series of national projects.
She then became the Business Manager for the Operations Directorate and Private Office, before taking up her current post in the South East in February 2017.
Magistrates’ Court Team Toggle accordion
The Magistrates’ Court Team is made up of prosecutors, supported by a team of administrators, who help to ensure cases are prepared digitally and ready for court. Our prosecutors either work as advocates in the Magistrates’ Courts across Kent, Surrey and Sussex or in one of our offices preparing cases where we anticipate people will plead not guilty and the case will go to trial.
Crown Court team Toggle accordion
The Crown Court team has prosecutors and a team of paralegal and administrative staff, who help to prepare cases. The majority of prosecutors in this team review cases and ensure they are ready for court, but we have a team of Crown Advocates, who prosecute cases in the Crown Court.
Complex Casework Unit (CCU) Toggle accordion
Our Complex Casework Unit (CCU) deals with the most complex cases in the South East and handles one of the largest volumes of complex cases in the country. Their work includes dealing with human trafficking, cross border crimes, “cold case” murders, fatal road collisions, sudden infant death, substantial fraud, money laundering and major public disorder offences.
Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) Team Toggle accordion
Our Rape and Serious Sexual Offences team (RASSO) is staffed by specially trained lawyers and paralegal officers and they handle rape cases, including attempted rape, along with child sexual abuse cases, including historic cases and all other serious sexual offences.
Working with you
CPS South East is committed to providing the best possible service we can to victims and witnesses in our cases, as they are vital in helping us to bring people to justice.
In recognition of this, we are currently developing a Victims’ Scrutiny Panel, which will include victims from cases that have already concluded. They will look at randomly chosen cases to see how victims were treated and what lessons can be learnt to improve our service in the future.
We also work with the members of our Local Scrutiny Involvement Panel to improve the prosecution process as a whole. The panel is made up of community representatives and invited members from other agencies in the criminal justice system, such as the police. They look at our performance and also review randomly selected cases of hate crime and violence against women and girls to see where improvements can be made.