Prosecutions: West Midlands

Attorney General written question – answered on 8th May 2019.

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Photo of Preet Kaur Gill Preet Kaur Gill Shadow Minister (International Development)

To ask the Attorney General, in how many cases did the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service decide not to charge a suspect on the grounds of (a) the evidential test and (b) the public interest test in each of the last five years.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Solicitor-General

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) maintains a central record of the number of suspects referred to prosecutors for a pre-charge decision and the number of decisions not to prosecute suspects following the charging decision.

When prosecutors make decisions on cases, they refer to The Code for Crown Prosecutors. The Code contains a two stage test which has to be met before a suspect can be charged; the evidential stage followed by the public interest stage. When deciding whether there is enough evidence to charge, prosecutors must consider whether evidence can be used in court and is reliable and credible, and there is no other material that might affect the sufficiency of evidence. Prosecutors must be satisfied there is enough evidence to provide a "realistic prospect of conviction" against each defendant. At the public interest stage the prosecutor must consider whether a prosecution is required in the public interest. A prosecution will usually take place unless the prosecutor is sure that the public interest factors tending against prosecution outweigh those tending in favour.

The table below shows the volume and percentage of decisions not to prosecute for evidential and public interest reasons for the West Midlands Area in each year from 2013/14 to 2017/18.

2013-2014

2014-2015

2015-2016

2016-2017

2017-2018

Volume

%

Volume

%

Volume

%

Volume

%

Volume

%

No Prosecution - Evidential

4,760

18.8%

5,396

16.1%

4,580

18.7%

4,479

17.4%

3,589

13.8%

No Prosecution - Public Interest

152

0.6%

584

1.7%

165

0.7%

164

0.6%

183

0.7%

Total of Evidential & Public Interest

4,912

19.4%

5,980

17.8%

4,745

19.3%

4,643

18.1%

3,772

14.5%

Total Decisions Made

25,360

33,600

24,542

25,708

26,026

Data Source: CPS Management Information System

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