Crown Prosecution Service

Oral Answers to Questions — Attorney-General – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th June 1991.

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Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South 12:00 am, 17th June 1991

To ask the Attorney-General if he will make a statement about vacancy rates in the Crown prosecution service.

Photo of Sir Patrick Mayhew Sir Patrick Mayhew , Tunbridge Wells

Over the past 12 months 315 lawyers have entered the service and vacancies have fallen from 22 to 13 per cent. Vacancies for administrative staff are 4 per cent.

Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South

I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for that answer which demonstrates a dramatic improvement. What hope does he have that the other vacancies will be filled speedily?

Photo of Sir Patrick Mayhew Sir Patrick Mayhew , Tunbridge Wells

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for what he said. The trend is a positive one. It reflects not only the increased salaries available—they are highly competitive—but the improvement in the quality of career which the service offers. We shall continue with that, and I hope to see the service fully recruited in the short term.

Photo of Mr Gerry Bermingham Mr Gerry Bermingham , St Helens South

Does the Attorney-General agree that basically vacancies and recruitment problems happen to be in London and the surrounding areas? Does he further agree that were London to recruit at the same levels as Yorkshire, Manchester or many other areas, the service and the courts in London would be that much more enhanced? They are simply overworked in London.

Photo of Sir Patrick Mayhew Sir Patrick Mayhew , Tunbridge Wells

Yes, the hon. Gentleman, who has close knowledge of these matters, is right that London is certainly one of the worst areas—or parts of London are. Humberside is another bad area. We must analyse the reasons why. Advertising and the promotion of the service are now devolved to local areas, and they are making great strides. I hope that the improvement that we have noticed will continue. I think that it will.