Crown Prosecution Service

From Academic Kids

The Crown Prosecution Service is the arm of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for public prosecutions of people charged with criminal offences in England and Wales. It is headed by the Director of Public Prosecutions. Its role is similar to that of the long established office of the Procurator Fiscal in Scotland.

The police investigate crimes. The CPS advise the police on possible prosecutions, authorise charge, review cases submitted by the police, prepare cases for court and present cases in the magistrates' court and (increasingly) the Crown Court.

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History

The first Director of Public Prosecutions was appointed in 1880, but local police forces were responsible for the bulk of cases, sometimes referring difficult ones to the Director. The Treasury Solicitor was responsible for the conduct of the prosecutions.

In 1884, the offices of DPP and Treasury Solicitor were merged. They were separated again in 1908. In 1962, a Royal Commission recommended that police forces set up independent prosecution departments to avoid having the same officers investigate and prosecute cases. This was not implemented by all police forces, and so in 1981 another Royal Commission reported that a single Crown Prosecution Service with responsibility for all public prosecutions in England and Wales be set up.

The CPS was established by 'The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985', under the direction of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and included his old department and the existing police departments. It started operating in 1986.

It was suggested in late 2004 that the name of the department will be changed to the Public Prosecution Service in order to affirm its role to citizens as a public service, however some suggest that a change would undermine the constitutional role of the department, nominally at least. It is unclear whether a name change is imminent or is still being discussed.

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