Roads: Accidents

Attorney General written question – answered on 23rd February 2015.

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Photo of Greg Mulholland Greg Mulholland Liberal Democrat, Leeds North West

To ask the Attorney General, what steps he is taking to implement the recommendations of the report from HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary entitled Joint Inspection of the Investigation and Prosecution of Fatal Road Traffic Incidents, published in February 2015.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Attorney-General

It is clear from the joint HMIC and HMCPSI report that there must be improvements in the way offences arising out of fatal road traffic incidents are investigated and prosecuted. It is therefore vital that police forces give due regard to the recommendations made in the report. However, it is rightly a matter for chief constables and Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to ascertain how best to respond to the recommendations locally. Under Section 55 (5) of the Police Act 1996, all PCCs have a statutory requirement to publish their response to joint inspection reports that relate to their force.

The CPS must provide the best possible service to the bereaved families in these cases. Whilst many of the recommended improvements have been achieved through more general development of CPS casework and guidance, there is clearly more which needs to be done. In order to make the improvements necessary to the prosecution of offences arising out of fatal road traffic accidents, the CPS is taking or has committed to take the following steps:

  • The introduction of accredited specialist prosecutors in each of the CPS Areas to prosecute these cases.
  • New mandatory training on the prosecution of fatal road traffic incidents to include case analysis and strategy, and how the CPS communicates with bereaved families.
  • CPS Area Coordinators to ensure that these sensitive and difficult cases receive the specialist attention they deserve and attract good quality, consistent decision making.
  • Amending guidance to remind prosecutors of the circumstances in which it is appropriate to charge assaults that arise from driving a motor vehicle.
  • Amending guidance to add a reference to the Criminal Practice Direction on acceptance of pleas in its Guidance on Charging Driving Offences.
  • A review of the flagging process of these cases to increase the accuracy of figures.
  • Consideration of better CPS Area access to appeals unit case reviews.
  • Consideration of existing protocols with police forces with the intention of drafting a model protocol for CPS Areas to agree with local forces.

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