The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the main prosecuting authority in England and Wales. In our daily operations we work in partnership with all agencies in the criminal justice system. We work especially closely with the police, although we are independent of them.
The CPS has 14 Areas/Regions across England and Wales - the CPS North East Area consists of the counties of Northumbria, Tyne and Wear and Cleveland.
Chief Crown Prosecutor Gale Gilchrist is the head of the CPS North East Area.
Ian Brown is the Area Business Manager, with overall responsibility for Business and Operational Delivery functions across the region.
We currently employ 279 staff across the region, working out of our Newcastle and Middlesbrough offices.
The Area is supported by a Business Centre which houses a team of specialists in the fields of performance, finance, human resources, communications and inclusion.
Gale Gilchrist, Chief Crown Prosecutor
Gale started her career in private practice and in 2002, after 10 years defending, joined the CPS as a Senior Crown Prosecutor. Gale then qualified as a Crown Advocate where she enjoyed a number of years doing advocacy in the Crown Court. Gale continued doing this work after joining the Complex Casework Unit, where she became Unit Head in 2013.
Gale moved to the CPS Specialist Fraud Division as a Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor in June 2017, where she worked for two years before spending three years as a Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor in CPS Yorkshire and Humberside. Gale returned home to CPS North East in August of 2022 to begin her current role as Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Area.
Ian Brown, Area Business Manager
Ian joined the CPS in 2008 as Senior Area Business Manager for Northumbria. He has a background in engineering and brings with him many years’ experience in senior leadership roles in the private sector.
Ian is responsible for the business functions of the Area, monitoring performance and overseeing staff management. Working alongside our Chief Crown Prosecutor Gale Gilchrist, his role is to ensure the appropriate resources are in place for the CPS to operate effectively and efficiently.
Our Magistrates’ Court Unit prosecute offences of domestic violence, assaults, criminal damage, minor public disorder incidents, all but the most serious traffic offences, possession of drugs, dangerous dog offences, offences of dishonesty and commercial burglaries.
The list is not exhaustive but generally comprises of any offence where the maximum permitted sentence for each offence does not exceed six months imprisonment or one year if two or more relevant offences are to be considered.
The Crown Court Unit deals with cases such as murder, robberies, serious assaults, dwelling house burglaries, complex fraud, the supply and trafficking of drugs, and the most serious road traffic offences especially those that result in a fatality.
The Complex Casework Unit houses a team who work in collaboration with the police to tackle organised and serious cross border crime, and to robustly tackle and disrupt criminal enterprises.
The bulk of their casework arises from serious and organised crime, particularly drugs importation and distribution, money laundering, organised crime group multi defendant homicide and serious fraud, usually involving a value of over £1million plus at least one element of complexity such as multiple defendants / companies / victims and/or complex financial / restraint issues.
The Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit is a dedicated and specialised team who prosecutes cases such as rape, serious sexual offences, child abuse, child sexual exploitation, honour based violence and Female Genital Mutilation.
The staff on the unit all have a great deal of understanding of the sensitivities of prosecuting cases of this nature and how difficult and harrowing it can be for a victim from the first step of making a complaint to the police, through to giving evidence in a trial.