The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the main prosecuting authority in England and Wales.
The CPS has 14 Areas across the country, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor. The South East Area is responsible for prosecuting cases in Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
We serve over 4.5 million people and the geographic area we cover is spread over 3,700 square miles, including major entry points to the UK, such as London Gatwick Airport, the Channel Tunnel and the Port of Dover.
CPS South East is headed up by Chief Crown Prosecutor Kate Brown, who is supported by Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutors Sarah Dineley and Judith Reed and Area Business Manager Karen Sawitzki.
We have around 300 members of staff, consisting of lawyers, paralegal officers and Operational Delivery Professionals. Our staff work out of offices in Canterbury, Brighton, Guildford, as well as a small remote team in Newcastle and Middlesbrough.
We also have an Area Business Centre, which includes specialist business support and administrative functions such as human resources, finance, communications and performance, all of which help to support the rest of the business.
Kate Brown, Chief Crown Prosecutor
Kate became Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS South East in May 2021.
She began prosecuting for the CPS in 1994 in Shropshire, moving to Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset. She held a variety of positions before becoming the Senior District Crown Prosecutor for South East Hampshire in 2004.
In November 2006 she was appointed as the Temporary Chief Crown Prosecutor for Dorset and was permanently appointed to that role in September 2007. In April 2011 Kate became the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for Wessex. Kate is also a Crown Advocate.
She was appointed as the Chief Crown Prosecutor for Wessex in January 2013. Kate became the Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS Direct in June 2017 and joined CPS South East in May 2021.
Sarah Dineley, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor
Sarah joined the CPS in 2007 as a Crown Advocate, before being appointed as a District Crown Prosecutor, heading up the Crown Court team in CPS Wessex the following year. Prior to joining the CPS, Sarah was a criminal defence solicitor and duty solicitor in Hampshire and a regular advocate in the Crown Court and Magistrates’ Court.
Sarah joined CPS South East in October 2017 as the Senior District Crown Prosecutor in charge of the Crown Court teams in Kent, Sussex and Surrey.
Sarah studied Law and French and attended Grenoble University for a year and has a keen interest in cases involving foreign jurisdictions. She is the International Casework Lead for the area.
Judith Reed, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor
Judith joined CPS South East in May 2023 as Temporary Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor. Prior to this, she was Head of the pan-London Complex Casework Unit from 2019 and has previously been a Temporary DCCP in the East of England.
Judith joined the CPS as an A2 in 1988, before being sponsored through her Legal Practice Course by the CPS and qualifying as a solicitor in 1996. She worked as a prosecutor before moving into legal management roles.
Karen Sawitzki, Area Business Manager
Karen joined CPS South East as the Area Business Manager (ABM) in October 2022 and prior to this she spent five years as the ABM for CPS Direct.
Karen has worked in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) for nearly 40 years.
Karen became the ABM for CPS Wiltshire in 2003, for Thames Valley in 2005, and the Senior ABM for the Thames and Chiltern Group in 2007. In September 2009 she was seconded to the Attorney General's Office as a Senior Policy Advisor. In January 2010 Karen was seconded to CPS HQ as part of the Capability Review Implementation Programme team. In August 2010 she returned to Thames and Chiltern and was the ABM for CPS Thames and Chiltern.
In September 2014 Karen became the ABM for CPS West Midlands before joining CPS Direct in June 2017.
The Magistrates’ Court Team is made up of prosecutors, supported by a team of administrators, who help to ensure cases are prepared digitally and ready for court. Our prosecutors either work as advocates in the Magistrates’ Courts across Kent, Surrey and Sussex or in one of our offices preparing cases where we anticipate people will plead not guilty and the case will go to trial.
The Crown Court team has prosecutors and a team of paralegal and administrative staff, who help to prepare cases. The majority of prosecutors in this team review cases and ensure they are ready for court, but we have a team of Crown Advocates, who prosecute cases in the Crown Court.
Our Complex Casework Unit (CCU) deals with the most complex cases in the South East and handles one of the largest volumes of complex cases in the country. Their work includes dealing with human trafficking, cross border crimes, “cold case” murders, fatal road collisions, sudden infant death, substantial fraud, money laundering and major public disorder offences.
Our Rape and Serious Sexual Offences team (RASSO) is staffed by specially trained lawyers and paralegal officers and they handle rape cases, including attempted rape, along with child sexual abuse cases, including historic cases and all other serious sexual offences.
Working with you
CPS South East is committed to providing the best possible service we can to victims and witnesses in our cases, as they are vital in helping us to bring people to justice.
We work with the members of our Local Scrutiny Involvement Panels to improve the prosecution process as a whole. They are made up of community representatives and invited members from other agencies in the criminal justice system, such as the police. One panel looks at hate crime, while the other focuses on violence against women and girls. They both review our performance and randomly selected cases to see where improvements can be made.