South West

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the main prosecuting authority in England and Wales. We work in partnership with all agencies in the criminal justice system, especially closely with the police, although we are independent of them. The police investigate crime and our role is to prepare and present cases to the courts.

South West map

The CPS has 14 Areas across England and Wales. CPS South West is our Area and serves a population of over four million people. Our local teams work alongside partner organisations in the three police force areas in the South West: Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall and Gloucestershire.

CPS South West employs around 220 members of staff, consisting of lawyers, paralegals and administrators. We work across a wide range of locations in the South West but our three main offices are in Bristol, Exeter and Truro.

Our duty is to prosecute the right people for the right offences. We aim to act professionally and strive for excellence, continually looking to improve our service and the way we work.

CPS South West is headed by Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP) Chris Long, whose responsibilities include carrying out prosecutions; setting and maintaining professional and ethical standards; representing the CPS locally; contributing to national policy and strategy and ensuring effective employee relations.

The CCP is supported by a team of senior managers with expertise in legal and business management matters. On the legal side, support is provided by Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Victoria Cook. Sarah Marchant is the Area Business Manager and has responsibility for the business and operational delivery functions.

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Chris Long, Chief Crown Prosecutor

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Chris Long is a Chief Crown Prosecutor in the South West Area, with ultimate responsibility for all criminal prosecutions in Gloucestershire, Devon and Cornwall and Avon and Somerset. Chris started his career as a lawyer in a general law firm in Kirklees and joined the CPS in West Yorkshire in 2002. He became a District Crown Prosecutor in 2005, responsible for the North East Leeds Area, and in the same year he was awarded the Young Achiever of the year in the Yorkshire Lawyer awards.

Chris moved to South Yorkshire in 2007 when he was promoted to Senior District Crown Prosecutor with responsibility for the Magistrates' Courts unit. Chris became a Senior Legal Manager as Head of the CPS for Cumbria in 2009 before becoming one of two Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutors in the larger North West Area in April 2011. Chris has also spent time on secondment as Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for London. In June 2017 Chris was appointed to the post of Chief Crown Prosecutor, CPS South West.

As well as personally overseeing cases of the most serious and sensitive nature, Chris has a background of taking significant roles in a number of national projects including leading an internal review into the way CPS handles historic sexual abuse leading to improvements to the service CPS delivers to the public.

Sarah Marchant, Area Business Manager

Sarah joined the CPS in 2002 as the Area Business Manager for Avon and Somerset.

In August 2007 Sarah was promoted to Senior Area Business Manager for the South West, still retaining responsibility for Avon and Somerset. Following a CPS restructure in April 2011, Sarah became Area Business Manager for CPS South West.

Prior to joining the CPS, Sarah worked in the private sector in financial services for over 13 years as a senior leader for a large international insurance company with responsibility for technical services, pension schemes and complaints.

Victoria Cook, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor

Victoria qualified as a solicitor in 2002 and worked as a criminal defence advocate in Hampshire, becoming the youngest associate partner in a 16 partner firm.

Victoria joined the CPS in 2005 as a Senior Crown Prosecutor, was promoted to District Crown Prosecutor in 2007, managing the Magistrates’ Court Unit in Portsmouth before taking responsibility for the Crown Court Unit in Dorset in 2009. In 2010 she gained temporary promotion to the role of Chief Crown Prosecutor for Gloucestershire.

Following a CPS restructure in April 2011, Victoria was appointed acting Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for the South West with responsibility for Gloucestershire and the former Avon area, a post she secured permanently in October 2011.

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The Magistrates’ Court Unit prosecutes a wide range of offences where the maximum sentence for each offence does not exceed six months' imprisonment or one year if two or more relevant offences are to be considered. All cases commence in the Magistrates’ Court.

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The Crown Court Unit deals with cases involving serious offences, which have to be tried before a jury or where the magistrates’ courts do not have sufficient sentencing powers for the seriousness of the crime.

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The Complex Casework Unit prosecutes the most complex and sensitive cases in the Area, including organised crime cases and cross-border crime.

Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) Unit Toggle accordion

The Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit is a specialist team who prosecute cases of rape and serious sexual offences from across the South West.

Working with You

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in the South West is committed to engaging with local communities in order to improve our services and we want to provide a fair service for everyone. It is important that people understand how the criminal justice system works and how we come to our decisions.  All too often, people do not know who we are or understand what we do. The CPS in the South West is committed to changing this and having a visible presence. Across the South West, we aim to work with all groups and communities to ensure that new policies adopted by the CPS reflect the diverse society we live in and that our operations are informed by the needs of the communities we serve. There are a number of ways in which we seek to involve local communities in the way we plan and deliver our services.

Local Scrutiny and Involvement Panels

Local Scrutiny and Involvement Panels (LSIPs) are a key mechanism by which we engage with local communities and their representatives. In particular, those communities with protected characteristics in relation to age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, religion, belief, race or sexuality.

The Panel aims to:

  • Ensure that CPS South West considers the views of communities in order to identify local concerns;
  • Undertake scrutiny of Hate Crime, Violence Against Women and cases of local interest to improve local performance and support victims and witnesses effectively; and
  • Undertake consultation with local communities on strategies and plans with specific reference to improving policy, casework, employment and training.

You can find out more about the work of the panels by contacting:
Tue Hong Baker
Telephone: 01392 356701
Email: Tue.Baker@cps.gov.uk

Contact Information for the defence

Magistrates' Court: southwest.mcgateway@cps.gov.uk.cjsm.net

Crown Court: southwest.ccgateway@cps.gov.cjsm.net

RASSO Unit: southwest.ccgateway@cps.gov.uk.cjsm.net

Complex Casework Unit: southwest.ccu@cps.gov.uk.cjsm.net

Victims and Witnesses

We are committed to dealing with Victims and Witnesses with respect. We understand being a victim or witness of crime can be difficult and how vulnerable some people may feel. We will support them through the process so that they can give their best evidence at court.
We prosecute cases on behalf of all our communities and want communities to continue to have confidence in their local justice system, to believe their interests are fairly represented and that justice is seen to be done.

Victims' Right to Review

The VRR scheme makes it easier for victims to seek a review of a CPS decision not to bring charges or to terminate proceedings.

If you are a victim seeking to exercise your right to request a review of a CPS decision not to bring charges, discontinue proceedings or offer no evidence in a case please click here.

The South West contact point for Victims' Right to Review enquiries:

Email: Victimliaison.Southwest@cps.gov.uk

Telephone: 0117 930 2929

Please note that this number must ONLY be used for VRR enquiries.

Please note that the scheme applies only in relation to qualifying decisions made on or after 5 June 2013.

Further reading