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078/2013: Police Led Prosecutions – 5 November 2013

Executive Summary and recommendation:

This document details the adoption of Police Led Prosecutions which is a key recommendation outlined within the CJS Efficiency Programme and follows amendments in 2012 to The Prosecution of Offenders Act 1985 (Specified Proceedings Order) 1999. In addition it highlights the expectation that all forces will have implemented Police Led Prosecutions by April 2014.

The concept will require some growth within the Criminal Justice Department, however the document demonstrates how this can be fully offset by recovery of court costs awarded in such prosecutions, therefore the implementation and ongoing business process will be at nil cost to the organisation.

Furthermore the paper will demonstrate why staff carrying out Police Led Prosecutions should be situated alongside the current Prosecution Team and Safety Camera Operation to deliver high quality, digital case files, which improve effectiveness of first hearings within the Magistrates Court.

It is recommended that:

  • The introduction of Police Led Prosecutions within North Yorkshire is supported
  • Appropriate HR and staff consultations are carried out to facilitate the introduction of PLP, along with recruitment of staff to support the process.

Police and Crime Commissioner decision:

That the introduction of Police Led Prosecutions is supported;
That appropriate HR and staff consultations are carried out to facilitate the introduction of PLP, along with recruitment of staff to support the process.

Signature Date 5 November 2013
Title Police & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire

Part 1 – Unrestricted facts and advice to the PCC

  1. Introduction and background
    1. Currently the majority traffic offences that appear within the Magistrates Court are classed as specified offences, these are matters that do not necessarily need to be conducted by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) until contested or mitigated. Table 1 below details who currently presents such cases at Court and to whom costs are awarded, determined by the plea of the accused.
    2. Plea Case Presented in Court by: Court Costs Awarded To:
      Guilty Court Legal Advisor Police
      Not Guilty / Contested Crown Prosecution Service Crown Prosecution Service
      No Plea Entered Crown Prosecution Service Crown Prosecution Service
      Hardship Hearing Crown Prosecution Service Crown Prosecution Service
    3. One of the key recommendations outlined in the National Criminal Justice System Efficiency Programme is the adoption of Police Led Prosecutions (PLP). Amendments in 2012 to The Prosecution of Offenders Act 1985 (Specified Proceedings Order) 1999 extends the scope of specified offences (those that the CPS are not involved) to include proof in absence cases (where no plea has been entered by the accused) and hardship matters. Table 2 below details how cases will be presented following implementation of PLP and to who costs will be awarded.
    4. Plea Case Presented in Court by: Court Costs Awarded To:
      Guilty Court Legal Advisor Police
      Not Guilty / Contested Crown Prosecution Service Crown Prosecution Service
      No Plea Entered Police Led Prosecutor Police
      Hardship Hearing Police Led Prosecutor Police
    5. A number of pathfinder forces have implemented Police Led Prosecutions, a concept that allows trained Police staff the right of audience within the Magistrates Court to present specified cases. This is a national initiative with expectation that all forces will have introduced this concept by April 2014. ACPO are now contacting forces who have yet to deliver PLP to ensure implementation not later than April 2014.
    6. North Yorkshire Police share regional Crown Prosecution Services with West Yorkshire Police who have already implemented PLP. Post April 2014 CPS have indicated they will no longer be able to service prosecution of cases highlighted in table 1 above (with the exception of not guilty contested matters) due to resource constraints. It is essential therefore that NYP have a fully effective team to bridge such gaps and meet national expectations.
    7. Adoption of PLP presents significant benefits to the force. The police maintain control over the prosecution process and can therefore expedite cases at the earliest opportunity. A Court Presentation Officer, who does require warranted powers, will present at court specified cases ultimately becoming specialist in such matters and adept at resolving issues that may arise. If the issue is not resolved at the first stage further enquiries can be made or, in the case of a not guilty plea, a trial date fixed. In many cases a defendant pleads guilty by post or the case is proved in absence (69% of cases in North Yorkshire based on 2012/13 data) and the case is concluded at that first hearing. Court Legal Advisors can continue to deal with guilty plea cases, but are unable to present the evidence required where no plea has been entered. Where a defendant pleads not guilty a trial date is set and the file is submitted to CPS for Prosecution.
    8. Introduction of PLP is expected to be in place by April 2014 as part of a wider national CJS Efficiency Programme, amendments in 2012 to The Prosecution of Offenders Act 1985 (Specified Proceedings Order) 1999, extends the scope of specified offences where the Crown Prosecution Service do not need to prosecute. There is a risk that due to current constraints within the CPS they may remove their support in prosecuting such cases so it is therefore important to source a solution that is operationally viable in advance of this deadline.
    9. Appendix A contains a process map showing how PLPs would work in North Yorkshire.
  2. Matters for consideration
    1. Costs. The amount of additional funding generated from court costs (as described in table 2) will cover the cost of additional staff and other resource that will be needed to service the PLP initiative.
    2. Transportation between work and Court will be required either through use of a dedicated vehicle or alternatively via travel reimbursement if personal vehicles are used.
    3. Standard IT equipment, including the facility to receive/present digital images will be needed.
    4. A national memorandum of understanding between ACPO and CPS in relation to PLP was signed in August 2013, this details the roles and responsibilities of both Police and CPS both during and following implementation. A copy of the document is attached at Appendix B
    5. Approximately 70% of specified files that will be dealt with by PLP will be those submitted via the safety camera operation. Court Presentation Officers working alongside the safety camera team within the Criminal Justice Department will enhance the opportunity to deliver continuous file improvement and effective case management.
    1. Other options considered, if any
    2. The use of Police Officers on recuperative duties has been considered, however this is not seen as sustainable due to lack of continuity through the high turnaround of Officers and subsequent re-training requirements.
    3. The use of appropriate external agents in a collaborative approach working on behalf of NYP has also been considered, however given the requirements to access the Niche case management system where digital case files will be held and the benefits achievable through alignment of this aspect of the work with the safety camera operation and prosecution teams, this approach is not recommended.
  3. Contribution to Police and Crime Plan outcomes
    1. Contributes to the Police and Crime Plan in relation to;
      • Delivering Justice: Police Led Prosecutors based alongside the Safety Camera operation and Prosecution Team allows case files to be built and managed within a central hub with direct liaison with the Court Presentation Officers. Improved file quality presented in digital format will reduce adjournments, maximise court time and lead to swifter justice.
      • Being fit for the future: Option to undertake the prosecution of offences covered in the Extension of Specified Offences when appropriate. Police Court Presentation Officers are able to fix trial dates in cases where a not guilty plea is entered, this will ensure that there are robust challenges around listings to minimise the impact upon police officer operational duties. Part 2 of this decision note demonstrates how PLP is funded within NYP
  4. Consultations carried out
    1. Visit to a pathfinder site (West Yorkshire) has taken place to develop NYP’s knowledge of PLP.
    2. Initial discussions have taken place with both the Crown Prosecution Service and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS).
    3. Agreements with HMCTS to centralise all traffic matters within a central court in North Yorkshire in anticipation of PLP being introduced, this Court is expected to be in place by January 2014. this will greatly improve the efficiency of the PLP process as it ensures that the NYP Court Presentation Officer has to attend only one court to present these cases.
  5. Financial Implications/Value for money
    1. Please see part 2 of this decision notice which details all financial aspects of PLP.
    2. Chief Constables Chief Finance Officer Comments:
    3. Due to the late submission of this paper, it has not been possible to carry out a detailed assessment of the financial figures quoted. However, on the face of it the figures appear to suggest that the scheme will be able to cover its costs.

      Should the proposal be approved, I will arrange for a detailed financial assessment to be carried out in order to prepare a budget for the new scheme for incorporation into the 2014/15 budget and the MTFP and the inclusion of the capital implications in the Capital and Revenue Development Programme.

  6. Legal Implications
    1. Amendments in 2012 to The Prosecution of Offenders Act 1985 (Specified Proceedings Order) 1999, extends the scope of specified offences where the Crown Prosecution Service do not need to prosecute thus allowing the Police to continue prosecuting such cases.
    2. Authority will be required from the North Yorkshire HMCTS Judicial Issues Group to allow Court Presentation Officers the right of audience within the Magistrates Courts, this can be obtained once approval to proceed is received.

    3. Having read this report and having considered such information as has been provided at the time of being asked to express this view, the Deputy Force Solicitor is satisfied that this report does not ask the PCC for North Yorkshire to make a decision which would (or would be likely to) give rise to a contravention of the law.
  7. Equality Implications
    1. There are no equality implications as a result of Police Led Prosecutions.


Appendix A – Process map showing how PLP will work in North Yorkshire
078 Appendix A
078 Appendix B Police Led Prosecutions

Public Access to Information

The Police and Crime Commissioner wishes to be as open and transparent as possible about the decisions he/she takes or are taken in his/her name. All decisions taken by the Commissioner will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

As a general principle, the Commissioner expects to be able to publish all decisions taken and all matters taken into account and all advice received when reaching the decision. Part 1 of this Notice will detail all information which the Commissioner will disclose into the public domain. The decision and information in Part 1 will be made available on the NYPCC web site within 2 working days of approval.

Only where material is properly classified as restricted under the GPMS or if that material falls within the description at 2(2) of The Elected Local Policing Bodies (Specified Information) Order 2011 will the Commissioner not disclose decisions and/or information provided to enable that decision to be made. In these instances, Part 2 of the Form will be used to detail those matters considered to be restricted. Information in Part 2 will not be published.

Is there a Part 2 to this Notice – YES

If Yes, what is the reason for restriction – Contains financial information relating to the implementation and ongoing costs of Police Led Prosecutions, along with recommendations re staffing requirements which may impact on current NYP roles.

Tick to confirm statement √
Director/Chief Officer has reviewed the request and is satisfied that it is correct and consistent with the NYPCC’s plans and priorities. Supt 1215 Hannan 12.09.13
Legal Advice Legal advice has been sought on this proposal and is considered not to expose the PCC to risk of legal challenge. DCS Simon Mason 24.10.2013
Financial Advice The CC CFO has both been consulted on this proposal, for which budgetary provision already exists or is to be made in accordance with Part 1 or Part 2 of this Notice Jane Wintermeyer 003840 31.10.13
Equalities Advice An assessment has been made of the equality impact of this proposal. Either there is considered to be minimal impact or the impact is outlined in Part1 or Part2 of this Notice. Jane Palmer 004364 31 October 2013
I confirm that all the above advice has been sought and received and I am satisfied that this is an appropriate request to be submitted for a decision A S Tooke, 4401, 24/10/13
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