Advanced Search

Online feedback

We are keen to hear your views on the new initiative please use the feedback form to respond.

Engaging with Communities

At the Blackbird Estate Thames Valley CPS was recently pivotal in successfully tackling anti-social behaviour. Staff worked closely with the Safer Neighbourhood teams to address a problem where a local woman would regularly cause disturbances on the estate. Through the CPS' involvement the local mental health authority looked in the matter and the woman was re-housed. The disturbances stopped.

In Sutton, South London, where the vast majority of overnight remands at court on Mondays were linked to incidents at a local nightclub, CPS prosecutors discussed with the police what evidence they needed to challenge the club's licensing arrangements.  With the assistance of the CPS and police the borough council identified the evidence that they needed to revoke the clubs licence. This has reduced offending because the club has enhanced security but also knows that its licence is in jeopardy.

Community prosecutors will help deliver modern prosecution service

29/04/2009

Message from Keir Starmer:
From June prosecutors will adopt a 'Community Prosecutor' approach, using creative strategies to help address some of the more negative issues facing our neighbourhoods.

The Community Prosecutor approach was announced in The Engaging Communities in the Criminal Justice Green Paper  today (April 29). This means that from this summer our prosecutors will be active in communities in 30 different areas across England and Wales as well as in court.

In reality there are examples where this has happened already, on an ad hoc basis, but the Community Prosecutor approach takes these achievements to a new dimension.

It strongly reinforces the importance of the CPS' problem-solving role in the communities it serves where confidence is being undermined.

I envisage a scenario where, say, our prosecutor works with the police, the local authority and a school to tackle a problem of youths causing problems in a shopping area.

Maybe the local authority would be able to identify other activities that could be used to engage the youths and divert them from anti-social behaviour. The prosecutor would be able to provide advice and guidance about what offences may have been committed, the evidence needed for a successful prosecution, and sentencing and non-court options.

As the impact on the local community from the offending behaviour may amount to an aggravating factor, the prosecutor would take this into account when making casework decisions.

If a prosecution took place the prosecutor would seek advice from both the neighbourhood policing team and the local anti-social behaviour specialist prosecutor to draft, for example, an application for an ASBO. This would address the offending behaviour and the needs of the local community.

At the sentencing stage our prosecutors can draw a court's attention to evidence of the impact of offending on a community. The Community Prosecutor initiative will help deliver this better.

Communication is important and we will continue to meet communities to keep them informed of what we are doing - otherwise they will see little point in working with us. And we will need to know about issues that affect their feelings of confidence and safety.

Our role is much broader than preparing case files and prosecuting defendants in court.  We are involved in the criminal justice system at an earlier stage, providing pre-charge advice. The Community Prosecutor initiative ensures our staff are aware of the needs and key priorities of the communities for which they are providing pre-charge advice.

In this way I can help ensure that we deliver a modern public prosecution service from day one when a crime is committed.

Keir Starmer