HC Deb 14 January 1991 vol 183 c610
29. Mr. Allen

To ask the Attorney-General if he will make a statement on the latest position on Crown prosecution service staffing levels.

The Solicitor-General (Sir Nicholas Lyell)

Recruitment in the Crown prosecution service has improved during 1990. Lawyers in post are now 1,686 against an increased total requirement of 2,053. As to administrative staff and law clerks, against a total requirement of 3,670, 3,636 are in post.

Mr. Allen

Can the Solicitor-General tell us anything about the workload of the Crown prosecution service? Does it not have enough to do without hundreds of hours of Crown prosecution service time being frittered away in seeking to sustain the conviction of the Birmingham Six and save the face and pride of Lord Lane?

The Solicitor-General

That is a backdoor way of getting in on a previous question about a matter which is entirely sub judice. I should have thought that the hon. Gentleman would accept that in this country we have an open and careful system of justice. That is what the Court of Appeal will administer.

Mr. Vaz

The Solicitor-General has confirmed, by his own admission to the House, that the Crown prosecution service is still grossly understaffed. It is one fifth down on the staff that it requires. When will the right hon. and learned Gentleman and his right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General accept the recommendations of the Select Committee on Home Affairs and give the CPS the resources that it so desperately needs?

The Solicitor-General

There were many good things in the recommendations of the Select Committee. It is true that the Crown prosecution service is still only about 80 per cent. staffed, compared with its complement, but it is also true that in its four years of existence it has managed to increase its complement by more than one third. It is making very considerable improvements, just as it did throughout the past year.