Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division
Welcome from the Head of Division
I am Sue Hemming, the Head of the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division and I would like to welcome you to our webpage.
This division was set up on 4 April 2011, merging the formerly separate Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Divisions. The new division continues the work of promoting excellence, increasing the resilience and efficiency in these very important and high profile areas of our work.
The division is divided into three operational units, each headed by a Deputy Head of Division: Appeals and Review - Deputy, Angela Deal; Counter Terrorism - Deputy, Deb Walsh; and Special Crime - Deputy, Nick Vamos.
We are seen as a centre of excellence and a place where lawyers and paralegal staff aspire to work, which is renowned for the quality of its prosecution advice. We are keen that all our lawyers are publicly accountable for the prosecuting decisions they make and encourage them to explain their decisions publicly.
Due to the high profile nature of the cases dealt with by the division, its lawyers have regular contact with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Alison Saunders, to update her on their work.
Because of the nature of many of the cases that we deal with we understand that there is considerable public interest in how cases are handled. Through these pages and our public documents, we aim to share information and provide transparency and accountability.
All of our prosecutors have spent many years working as criminal lawyers to ensure they have the necessary experience and expertise to deal with the demands of the casework.
The Appeals Unit was established in June 2010 to provide a specialist service to the three most senior appellate courts in England and Wales - the Court of Appeal, the Administrative Court and the Supreme Court.
- conducts judicial reviews and case stated appeals in the Administrative Court in which the CPS is named as party, including judicial reviews of decisions made by local CPS Areas to prosecute or not to prosecute a case
- conducts the majority of appeals against conviction and sentence in the Court of Appeal, and
- supports the Attorney General's Office in the administration of Unduly Lenient Sentence appeals.
The cases dealt with before the Court of Appeal, the Administrative Court and the Supreme Court involve the practice of specialist civil as well as criminal law and procedure. They are often of high public profile or sensitivity and their outcomes frequently have an impact upon the development of case law and the wider criminal justice system as well as on the lives of the individuals directly involved.
In addition to conducting the full range of appellate court cases, the unit provides a central point of contact for the courts and other criminal justice agencies on appellate court matters concerning the CPS. It also takes a proactive approach towards identifying cases with national legal or policy implications in order to help develop and clarify criminal case law.
Victims' Right to Review
In 2013 the remit of the Appeals Unit was expanded to include responsibility for the centralised, formal review stage of the Victims' Right to Review (VRR) Scheme. Consequently, the unit was renamed the Appeals and Review Unit (ARU).
The VRR Scheme gives victims of crime and bereaved families a clear mechanism through which they can obtain a full reconsideration of certain decisions not to proceed with their case. The ARU is responsible for conducting these independent reviews in VRR cases where local resolution has not been possible.
The Counter Terrorism Division was set up primarily to deal with prosecuting terrorism cases which had been rapidly increasing in terms of size and complexity over the previous few years.
Terrorism still makes up the majority of our work but, as similar skills are required to handle such work, we also deal with all allegations of:
- incitement to racial and religious hatred
- stirring up hatred based on sexual orientation
- war crimes and crimes against humanity
- official secrets cases and
- piracy and hijacking.
Cases against those suspected of terrorism are dealt with in the same way as any other criminal case. All decisions are made in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and a prosecutor needs to have sufficient evidence to afford a realistic prospect of a conviction before he or she can go on to consider the public interest.
Special Crime has offices in York and London from which the lawyers advise on and, where appropriate, prosecute some of the most sensitive and demanding cases across the country. They provide advice to investigating bodies such as the police, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
The casework includes:
- deaths in custody
- assisted suicides
- serious criminal allegations against police officers
- corporate manslaughter
- gross negligence medical manslaughter
- election offences
- cases involving high profile individuals such as MPs
- criminal allegations against CPS and National Crime Agency (NCA) employees, and
- leaks by public officials to journalists
Cases should be referred to Special Crime when certain criteria are met. These are set out below, under 'Referral Criteria'.
The needs of victims and witnesses are a priority for us and it is now our practice, in appropriate cases, to invite victims or their families to meetings so we can update them on the progress of their cases and, once a decision is made, to explain its basis and answer any questions they may have.
Uncle and nephew charged over attempt to join ISIL in Syria - nephew charged over plot on US military
Two Leicester Royal Infirmary medical staff found guilty of manslaughter following the death of six year old boy
Andrew Stocker found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter following death of employees on an apple farm
Pyranha Mouldings Ltd sentenced for corporate manslaughter following death of an employee in manufacturing oven
Further archived news releases about the work of Special Crime and other parts of the CPS can be found in the Archived News section of the CPS website.
Bribery and misconduct
Homicide and Accident Investigation
Health and Safety Executive protocol on work-related deaths (Opens in a new window)
We understand that there is considerable public interest in how terrorism related cases are handled and we believe that it is right to share as much information as possible with our communities. For that reason we have created three public documents (the links to which are below) and we hope through this web page to be able to provide further information in the future.
The summary of terrorism related cases gives information about recent terrorism cases prosecuted by us.
Successful war crimes prosecutions since 2001 gives details of successfully concluded war crimes prosecutions since 2001.
The War Crimes Referral Gateway sets out how the police and the CPS deal with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Special Crime within the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division
A list of the types of case dealt with by the SCD may be found below (Annex A). In addition, the types of criminal allegations against persons serving with the police that fall to be considered by the SC&CTD may be found below in Annex B.
As a general rule the SC&CTD office that deals with the case will be determined by the location of the investigating police force.
Annex A: Special Crime Prosecutions (Types of Crime)
- Corporate Manslaughter
- Medical Manslaughter (by medical professionals)
- Deaths in Custody
- Allegations against police officers concerning deaths following police contact
- High Profile People (constitutional/political/CPS implications)
- Allegations against police officers of seriously corrupt activity (Except SOCA-run investigations). See also Annex B below. Note fraud-type cases will be taken by Central Fraud Group.
- Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) cases - only those where the IPCC are investigating independently or are "managing" the police investigation. (Note: This does not include cases "supervised" by the IPCC or referred to police by IPCC for local investigation unless any of the other listed criteria in this section applies.)
- Election Offences
- Assisted suicide
- CPS employee cases except cases relating to minor uncontested motoring offences
- SOCA employee cases except cases relating to minor uncontested motoring offences
- The disclosure of confidential information by public officials to journalists, in accordance with the Guidelines on Assessing the Public Interest in Cases Affecting the Media (Principal Legal Advisor must be notified)
- All private prosecution cases referred to the CPS for possible intervention (the DCCP for the relevant Area or Central Casework Division remains the decision maker - SCD has a quality assurance role only), and
- Cases alleging a contravention of section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 by a police officer or fire fighter who has carried out a heroic act.
Annex B: Handling of criminal allegations against persons serving with the police
Categories of cases to be referred to CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division (SC&CTD)
Allegations against persons serving with the police at any rank of seriously corrupt activity. For these purposes, allegations are likely to include one or more of the following:
- Systematic and organised attempts to pervert the course of justice or other conduct likely to seriously harm the administration of justice, in particular the Criminal Justice System
- Undue payments or other benefits or favours received in connection with the performance of duties, where a Magistrates' Court would be likely to decline jurisdiction
- Corrupt controller/handler/source relationships
- Provision of confidential information in return for payment, or other benefits or favours, where the conduct goes beyond a possible prosecution for an offence under Section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998
- Extraction and/or supply of seized controlled drugs, firearms or other illegal material, e.g. drugs proceeds, counterfeit currency etc
- Attempt or conspiracies to do any of the above.