Alison Saunders handed over the keys to the office of the director of public prosecutions to Max Hill, QC, yesterday, her parting gift was to unveil an updated code for crown prosecutors. The code, which came into force last week, sets out the general principles that prosecutors must consider when deciding to charge a suspect. David Sleight blogs about how changes in the way charging decisions are made risk leaving victims and suspects in limbo for longer.
Earlier this week, the BBC and The Victoria Derbyshire programme reported on a new warning notice scheme being issued by some police forces in England and Wales. The notices are issued when police have received intelligence raising concerns about an individual’s sexual behaviour but there is insufficient evidence for the matter to proceed to charge.
On 21 August 2018, the Home Office launched a consultation in respect of further revisions to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) Codes of Practice. While the consultation period is no surprise (it is a statutory requirement), it is breath-taking that such basic standards of decency need to be introduced to the minimum standards of treatment for detained individuals.
Yesterday, the Attorney General’s Office issued a press release “More victims and their families get justice.” This is based on an assessment of Unduly Lenient Sentence Referral Scheme overseen by the Attorney General. While the statistics may be headline grabbing, further analysis suggests the system is in need of reform.