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1 in 3 police files returned by prosecutors due to mistakes

(Posted on 23/07/19)

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1 in 3 police files returned by prosecutors due to mistakes

A third of police files prepared for prosecutors in England and Wales are being returned because of significant mistakes, often leading to delays in the court process, according to Crown Prosecution Service figures released to The Times

33 per cent of files submitted to prosecutors in the first quarter of 2018/19 had significant errors, such as missing evidence or statements.

The figure was as high as 61 per cent in the Metropolitan Police, up from 58 per cent in the previous quarter and 53 per cent in the quarter before that, and 48 per cent in the City of London Police, but as low as one in ten in Suffolk Constabulary.

Richard Atkinson, chair of the Law Society’s criminal law committee, told The Times: “The public purse suffers because you’ve got the cost of a court hearing, the cost of the lawyers, the cost of the CPS looking at a file once and then police look at it again and then the CPS have got to review the file again. Everyone in the system suffers.”

A spokesperson for the CPS insisted that “encouraging progress” is being made on the issue: “The overall error rate has decreased gradually over the last year. We recognise further work is needed so joint improvement plans have been agreed between forces and their local CPS areas to focus on key issues.”