Attorney General written question – answered on 21st June 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to improve the rate at which perpetrators of crime are charged in the criminal justice system.

Photo of Lord Stewart of Dirleton Lord Stewart of Dirleton The Advocate-General for Scotland

The decision to charge suspects in England and Wales with criminal offences is made either by the police or by the CPS depending on the nature of the offence involved. The CPS make the decision to charge in serious cases but over the last five years the police have made the charging decision in 61% to 63% of the cases that are prosecuted by the CPS. In cases in which the CPS make the decision to charge, the CPS had a charging rate of between 74.5% and 77.7% over the last five years.

While the police and other investigators are responsible for conducting inquiries into any alleged crime and gathering evidence to inform a charging decision, prosecutors work closely with police during the investigation stage to assist with the building of strong cases. The recently introduced Director of Public Prosecution’s Guidance on Charging 6th Edition (DG6) supports this work to ensure cases are robustly prepared by police and prosecutors pre-charge.

This reflects aspects of the revised Attorney General’s Guidelines on Disclosure; both came into effect in England and Wales on the 31 December 2020.

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