Tag Archives: consultation

CPS Consultation on Prosecuting Domestic Violence

StickerDVawareness

Introduction

What do you think about the way that Domestic Violence is prosecuted? Is it not taken seriously enough, or an example of policy driven prosecuting without regard to the circumstances?

There is a Consultation Homepage where all the material is collected.

 

Proposals

This is supposed to supplement the general Code for Crown Prosecutors. There is not necessarily anything wildly new or exciting put forward, just a consolidation and evolution.

Although it is a relatively lengthy document (some 50 odd pages) it is worth a read. Some of it is stating the obvious – the CPS state that cases should be prepared properly. Of course, saying that doesn’t make it happen, which may be a bigger issue.

There may be more controversy over the charging decisions. Cautions are effectively ruled out which may or may not be a good thing. There is a concern that there is to much of a ‘broad brush’ approach.

For example, para 64 : “The police should consider cautions carefully in domestic violence cases. This is because such cases involve a breach of trust and are unlikely to be the first offence“. It is not immediately clear that this correctly states the test for a caution. Many people might find the second sentence there a bit too vague and lacking in evidence.

This is in part due to the overly wide definition of domestic violence. It may  be relevant in many cases, but an argument in a pub between two brothers is also categorised as domestic violence, where it is hard to see an abuse of trust or any evidence that it is not going to be the first offence.

It seems to me that there is a lack of proper consideration of the evidential test – particularly where many (criminal) practitioners are of the suspicion that the CPS use a lower test in practice.

The difficult question of when a complainant should be forced to come to court and/or give evidence is given, in my view, far too little consideration. But there is some good material on how to support complainants and witnesses (again, it could be said that the practice is often somewhat different from the theory).

 

How to respond

There is a response form which can be downloaded.

The deadline to respond is 9th July 2014.

 

Consultation on the use of Police Bail

Image from the BBC

Image from the BBC

Introduction

We looked last year at the question of whether the police abuse bail when cases drag on for many months and sometimes, (as in the case of Freddy Starr) for years. This is of concern to many people.

Well, topically, the College of Policing is currently running a consultation : “On the use of pre-charge bail“.

 

Summary

They summarise the ’10 Key Principles’ of Bail that has been set out by ACPO, as well as giving a very quick overview of how and why police bail is used ,before inviting feedback.

This is not a question of proposing new legislation that governs the use of police bail (which is something that we would prefer), but the aim is to provide guidance for police forces on the use of bail to ensure that it is “used in an effective and transparent manner“.

Whilst this consultation is not promising the earth, it is feeding into a wider process and is certainly worth responding to. The whole consultation paper is refreshingly short (12 pages in total) and is easy to respond to.

 

Consultation questions

  1. What concerns, if any, do you have about the use of pre-charge bail?
  2. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

“There needs to be a more formal structure to manage the use of pre-charge police bail.”

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree
  • Don’t know

If you responded strongly agree or agree, please state how you think the current structure should
be changed.

3. Bail principles provide a managerial framework for the use of bail. What amendments, additions or alternative methods would you wish to see included in the bail principles?

4. What other views do you have on the use of police bail.

The deadline is 19th June 2014, so get your pencils sharpened and get replying. I will be doing a short response and will post it for anyone to steal use as inspiration.