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CPS Response to HMICFRS, HMIP and HMCPSI joint inspection report entitled “Meeting the needs of victims in the criminal justice system: An inspection of how well the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Probation Service support victims of crime”


His Majesty’s Inspectorates of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), Probation (HMIP) and the CPS (HMCPSI) have today issued a report following a joint inspection of how the police, the CPS and Probation Service meet the needs of victims.

The report acknowledges that the police, the CPS and the Probation Service recognise the importance of meeting the needs of victims. The report also found examples of good communication both between the three bodies and with victims, as well as examples of good victim care. However, the report is clear that many victims do not receive a good quality service from the three agencies inspected.

The CPS agrees with the report’s assertion that improving victims’ experience of the criminal justice system is vital. The CPS’ Victim Transformation Programme, which is referenced in the report, aims to transform the service the CPS provides to every victim of crime. This will include the establishment of clear service standards for CPS victim communication and processes to ensure these measures are met consistently. Our ambition is for victims to feel informed, supported and empowered by the CPS.

We also want victims to experience a more joined-up service from the criminal justice system as a whole.  The joint inspection report is clear that cross-justice system collaboration needs to improve, especially in terms of information sharing and communication. The CPS will continue to work closely with the Police and our other criminal justice partners to provide victims with a better quality of service, especially as we develop and implement the Victim Transformation Programme. It is important that we do not inadvertently create a more complex system for victims to navigate.

We welcome the findings of this report and will use them to inform our ongoing efforts to uphold victims’ rights and provide them with a fair and quality service.

Inspectorates’ Recommendations

The fourth recommendation in the report includes a direct reference to the CPS:

'By 30 September 2024, the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Crown Prosecution Service should agree minimum standards and consistent processes for how witness care units or functions communicate with the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and victims to help effective, agile and timely information-sharing so that victims’ needs are met.'

The CPS accepts the need for communication and information-sharing between the police and the CPS to improve. This is vital to make sure victims get clear and timely updates, as well as the support they need throughout their criminal justice journey.  

Although there are no further formal recommendations which directly reference the CPS, we acknowledge that the report highlights other areas in which the CPS could improve its service to victims. For example, the report suggests that the CPS (as well as the police and Probation Service) could improve the way in which it measures the quality of its work with victims. The report also highlights issues with the timeliness and quality of a sample of letters the CPS sent to victims as part of its Victim Communication and Liaison (VCL) scheme. We will use these findings to inform the improvements we are seeking to make to our victim communications.

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