§ Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What steps are being taken to assess the feasibility of implementing the recommendation made by Sir Robin Auld that the Crown Prosecution Service should take over from the police responsibility for charging defendants at the outset of a prosecution. [HL3117]
§ The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith)
I have agreed with the Home Secretary that the Crown Prosecution Service and police should pilot the proposals over a period of six months in five different areas: in Bath, the Medway area, Essex, the Wrexham area and in Halifax. The objective of the pilot is to identify the practical implications of implementing Sir Robin's recommendation that the Crown Prosecution Service should determine the charge in all but minor, routine offences or where, because of the circumstances, there is a need for a holding charge before seeking the advice of the Service. Where there may be practical difficulties, the pilot will seek to identify how these can best be overcome. The Crown Prosecution Service and ACPO have been working closely together to set up the pilot, which commenced on 18 February 2002. An evaluation report will be produced in autumn 2002.
Further details of the pilot are contained in a background note, copies of which I have caused to be put in the Libraries of both Houses.