The Crown Prosecution Service: Gatekeeper of the Criminal Justice System - Justice Committee Contents

First Supplementary memorandum submitted by the Crown Prosecution Service


  I am writing to follow up my appearance before the Justice Committee with Peter Lewis on Tuesday 24 February. At the hearing, Peter and I gave commitments to the Justice Committee on the specific issues set out below.

Prosecutors in England and Wales

  Mr Tyrie requested a list of prosecutors (see Q301—uncorrected evidence 186). There is no definitive list of organisations that institute prosecutions in England and Wales. The common law power to instigate private prosecutions is preserved under section 6(1) of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 and it is used by a number of organisations who otherwise do not have the statutory power to prosecute, and this makes it difficult to produce an exhaustive list. However, I have listed those prosecutors in England and Wales who are signatories to the Prosecutors' Convention and members of the Whitehall Prosecutors' Group, they are as follows:

    Crown Prosecution Service;

    Revenue & Customs Prosecutions Office;

    Serious Fraud Office;

    Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform;

    Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs;

    Office of Rail Regulation;

    Service Prosecution Authority;

    Maritime & Coast Guard Agency;

    Environment Agency;

    Gambling Commission;

    Financial Services Authority;

    Department of Work & Pensions;

    Department for Transport;

    Health & Safety Executive;

    Vehicle and Operator Services Agency;

    Driver & Vehicle Licensing Authority.

  In addition, prosecutions are instigated by local authorities (including trading standards authorities), other regulatory authorities, and a number of voluntary organisations such as the RSPCA.

Common standards and efficiency

  Mr Tyrie asked a number of questions about uniting organisations with prosecuting powers under one prosecutor and he asked if we could look at levels of efficiency between prosecutors as part of the current review being led by the Attorney General (see Q302—307). As Peter Lewis said at the hearing, the Attorney General, together with her Directors of the superintended prosecution authorities, will consider a number of issues as the review proceeds and this will include consideration of which prosecution models will deliver the greatest efficiency for the superintended prosecution authorities.

Non-compliance with Conditional Cautions

  In response to a question from you (see Q320/321) about the number of cases where there is non-compliance with the Conditional Caution, I said I would provide you with the figures.

  In 2008, according to the CPS' figures, there was a total of 8011 Conditional Cautions made by the CPS. Out of those, there was non-compliance in 707 cases subject to a Conditional Caution. Where there was non-compliance reported, 571 cases were prosecuted, 126 cases were not prosecuted, and 10 had their conditions varied.

  If the CPS decides not to prosecute in such cases, it will tend to be because the prosecutor considers it would not be in the public interest to prosecute. This could be because the person has met most of the conditions in the Conditional Caution, for example, paying all but the final instalment of the compensation to the victim and the prosecutor is satisfied with the explanation about why the balance has not been paid. Another reason could be that the original offence is not proceeded with, as the person is subject to prosecution for more serious offences.

  I hope this information is of assistance to the Committee and I look forward to seeing the report in due course.

Keir Starmer QC

Director of Public Prosecutions

18 March 2009

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