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 across England and Wales - the CPS West Midlands Area consists of the counties of Warwickshire, Shropshire, Hereford, Worcester, Staffordshire and the metropolitan area of West Midlands, which includes the cities of Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry. This CPS Area also handles the prosecution of all cases which arise from British Transport Police investigations in England and Wales.
Chief Crown Prosecutor Siobhan Blake is the head of the CPS West Midlands Region. She is supported by Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Sarah Hammond, who has responsibility for the Crown Court Unit, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Douglas Mackay, who has responsibility for the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit, Complex Casework Unit and Acting Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, and Nicholas Coates, who has responsibility for the Magistrates’ Court Unit. Rachel Mort is the Area Business Manager and has responsibility for Business and Operational Delivery functions across the region.
We currently employ 498 members of staff which consists of lawyers, paralegals and administrators. The majority of our staff are based at our regional headquarters in Birmingham, but we also have staff based in our Stoke office.
The Area is supported by a Business Centre which houses a team of specialists in the fields of performance, finance, human resources, communications, engagement and inclusion.
Siobhan Blake, Chief Crown Prosecutor
Siobhan Blake was appointed Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP) of CPS West Midlands in March 2021, having previously been the Chief Crown Prosecutor of Mersey-Cheshire since 2016. Before this, she was Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for Cymru-Wales Area for four years.
Siobhan qualified as a solicitor having studied law at Southampton and joined the CPS in 1994 as a trainee solicitor. After qualification Siobhan worked in private practice for a period before returning to the CPS.
Siobhan is an experienced prosecutor who has advised upon and prosecuted many high-profile cases, becoming a specialist in the prosecution of rape and serious sexual offences. She obtained her Higher Rights of Audience in 2004 and became a frontline manager in 2005.
Siobhan has been at the forefront of the work undertaken by the CPS to tackle Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) - domestic violence, rape and other violent offences in which the victims are predominantly women. She is now the National CCP Lead for the CPS on rape and serious sexual offence prosecutions.
Sarah Hammond, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor
Sarah is the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor with strategic responsibility for Crown Court casework dealt with in the West Midlands region and by the British Transport police nationally.
Sarah qualified as a solicitor in 1996 and joined CPS in 1998 having previously worked as a Magistrates’ Legal Adviser. During her time at CPS, she obtained her higher rights, and has undertaken advocacy in both Magistrates’ and Crown Courts across the region.
She is the Area’s Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) lead and has enjoyed being involved in this area of work for many years representing the CPS at conferences and community forums to share the work of CPS in tackling these offences. Sarah was involved in implementing the Violence Against Women and Girls Scrutiny Panel and Specialist Domestic Abuse Courts locally and is currently chair of the VAWG Local Scrutiny and Improvement Panel.
Sarah became a District Crown Prosecutor in 2013, initially managing a Crown Court team before moving to lead the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences team. In 2016, Sarah became a Senior District Crown Prosecutor with responsibility for Crown Court work before being promoted to Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor in 2018.
Douglas Mackay, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor
Douglas studied history at the University of East Anglia before taking his common professional examination and Law Society Finals at what is now Birmingham City University. He qualified as a solicitor in 1992 and worked in private practice before joining the CPS in Norwich 18 months later. He qualified as a Crown Court advocate in 2003 and achieved through grading to level 3. He took on the role of Area Advocacy Assessor in 2010.
Douglas became the District Crown Prosecutor for the Norfolk Magistrates' Court team in 2012, and subsequently led the Essex Crown Courts unit as District Crown Prosecutor. In 2016 he became the Senior District Crown Prosecutor for the Complex Casework and RASSO units in the East of England.
Between June 2018 and February 2021, Douglas was the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor in the East of England with responsibility for the Crown Court and RASSO units. He returned to Birmingham as Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor in February 2021 with responsibility for the Magistrates' Courts unit. Douglas is currently responsible for the Complex Casework and RASSO units.
Nicholas Coates - Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor
Nick is Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor with responsibility for the Magistrates' Court Unit. He qualified as a solicitor in 1996. He defended criminal cases in Bristol for 13 years, where he was a duty solicitor and obtained his Higher Rights of Audience, enabling him to appear in the Crown Court as an advocate.
In 2009, he joined the CPS as a Borough Crown Prosecutor in London, managing teams covering Hounslow and Southwark. He then led a substantial team dealing with North London Crown Courts before working in Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) and then moving to the specialist Proceeds of Crime Division, where he was responsible for restraint and confiscation work in London and the South of England.
He joined the SEOCID Regional and Wales Division as Deputy Head in 2022 and became Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor in CPS West Midlands in May 2023.
Rachel Mort - Area Business Manager
Rachel is our Area Business Manager and has responsibility for delivering the operational business across our Area.
As well as having oversight of all our business functions, Rachel is responsible for staff and financial management, performance monitoring and the implementation of all our operational business systems. Working alongside our chief crown prosecutor, Rachel’s role is to ensure the appropriate resources are in place for our Area team to operate effectively and efficiently.
Rachel began her career with the CPS in 2002; she joined us as an administrator and has held a variety of roles since then including case progression manager, branch manager, head of the Area operations centre, and business change and delivery manager. She took on her current role at CPS West Midlands in 2023.
Our Magistrates’ Court Unit prosecute offences of domestic violence, assaults, criminal damage, minor public disorder incidents, minor traffic offences (excluding those dealt with by the police as police-led prosecutions), 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 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.
The CPS Serious Violence, Organised Crime and Exploitation Unit (SVOCE) – the first of its kind – was launched in the CPS West Midlands region in July 2021. The Unit brings together a team of prosecutors and paralegal staff who have extensive experience of prosecuting cases involving serious gang-related violence, serious drug dealing offences (including county lines) and modern slavery and exploitation. The Unit is part of the Complex Casework Unit.