July 2015 articles archive:

Police-led prosecutions are to be extended again.

Home Secretary Theresa May announces “We will extend the use of police-led prosecutions to cut the time you spend waiting for the Crown Prosecution Service”.

On the 20 May 2015 at the Police Federation Annual Conference Theresa May, Home Secretary, announced the government's intention to make greater use of police-led prosecutions in a drive for efficiency on the basis that this would mean that the police do not have to wait for the Crown Prosecution Service.


The police already have discretion to prosecute some high volume offences which cause serious harm to communities, quickly and efficiently through the criminal justice system. What is proposed is an extension of the use of police-led prosecutions. This means the Crown Prosecution Service is responsible for prosecuting crimes, while the police have the power to prosecute some uncontested, low-level traffic offences (like speeding, driving without insurance, or failing to produce a driving licence).


At present the police can only prosecute in specified cases where the defendant pleads guilty. Cases will continue to be handled by the Crown Prosecution Service if the defendant pleads not guilty.


This procedure was made possible by the The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 and by a number of Statutory Instruments introduced by the Attorney General.


In 2012 a further 16 offences were added including careless and inconsiderate driving and failing to stop a motor vehicle when required to do so by the police and criminal damage where the value of the property involved is no more than £5,000 (not including arson).


In June 2014 an amendment came into force to extend police-led prosecutions to cover shop theft of goods worth £200 or less.


As a result, whilst the original list of offences were crimes which mainly related to driving or traffic offences and the failure to produce appropriate documentation, the list of offences has now been widened to extend to other forms of criminal behaviour including activity which would be seen as anti-social behaviour.


It seems as though the government intend to further extend the use of police-led prosecutions on the basis of efficiency. We know that on the 20 May 2015 the Home Secretary, Theresa May,  at the Police Federation Annual Conference announced  “We will extend the use of police-led prosecutions to cut the time you spend waiting for the Crown Prosecution Service”.


Students may wish to keep an eye on any forthcoming proposals laid before Parliament and see the extent of any additional offences for which the police can lead prosecutions.

Queen's Speech 2015: Bill-by-bill  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-32898443

Police-led prosecution: list of offences - Publications – GOV.UK

Find out more about what the Queen’s Speech 2015 means for you.

Home Secretary's Police Federation 2015 speech https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/home-secretarys-police-federation-2015-speech


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