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Crown Prosecution Service

The role of the CPS

  • The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecutes criminal cases that have been investigated by the police and other investigative organisations in England and Wales.
  • It has thousands of lawyers whose duty is to make sure the right person is prosecuted for the right offence.
  • The CPS advises the police during the early stages of investigations to help determine the evidence that will be required to support a prosecution. But the legal test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors must be satisfied before charges can be authorised.
  • The legal test has two stages, both of which must be passed before a case can be prosecuted:
    – Does the evidence provide a realistic prospect of conviction? And;
    – Is it in the public interest to prosecute?
  • The CPS prosecutes independently, without bias and works to deliver justice in every case. It must always be fair, objective and impartial to secure justice for victims, witnesses, defendants and the public.


How the CPS prosecute Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) crimes

  • CSA cases are some of the most challenging and complex cases the CPS prosecutes. They are dealt with by specially trained prosecutors, working closely with the police to gather evidence to build strong cases that meet our legal test.
  • In the rolling year to date, the CPS has prosecuted 3,354 people for CSA offences.
  • In 2020, the CPS prosecuted 11,146 indecent images of children offences in cases that reached a first hearing in the Magistrates Courts.
  • The CPS has developed training to equip prosecutors to understand how new technologies are used by offenders to commit CSA. It delivered two pilot training sessions in October 2020 and February 2021.
  • In addition, the CPS regularly update the CSA related legal guidance for prosecutors to support the effective CSA prosecutions, and recently updated guidance on sentencing. The CPS have published legal guidance on prosecuting CSA cases.
  • The CPS is committed to supporting survivors of CSA and has established a CSA Forum for stakeholders comprising key national charities, academics and survivors’ groups to advise on emerging trends, such as the use of new technologies and articulate the concerns of survivors. Its Forum focused on survivors of CSA and their experience of the criminal justice system.