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1 February 2022
Greater Manchester Police Federation is appealing to the Police Minister to review CPS guidelines that have dramatically increased the amount of material detectives are asked to supply before charging decisions can be made.
New rules introduced last year by the Director of Public Prosecutions require detectives to provide the Crown Prosecution Service with an almost trial-ready prosecution file before it makes a charging decision.
But this change is causing additional stress for officers who are already overworked, under resourced and struggling to keep up with demand, according to Tim Hanson, Deputy Secretary of Greater Manchester Police Federation.
Tim, who is also the Federation’s Detectives’ Lead, said: “We are being asked to do a lot of pre-emptive work before we actually get into the crux of the evidence. And that has a massive impact on demand.
“We are being asked to jump through so many hoops before we actually get the evidence assessed. It has a negative effect on people not only coming to the police to make the allegations, but also in public confidence in the whole criminal justice system
It can be a huge waste of resources, particularly if a suspect admits to an offence or the CPS decides not to proceed”
A review by the Police Federation of England and Wales found that 95% of detectives said the changes had increased the number of hours they spend on pre-charge file preparation, and 87% said the changes had decreased the efficacy of the criminal justice system. And 87% of investigators said the job had become more stressful as a result of the changes.
Tim added: “I will be sharing the findings of the survey with the Force’s senior officers and local MPs to highlight the impact the issue is having on officers and their ability to deliver the service they want to the people of Greater Manchester.”
He concluded: “We want the Police Minister and MPs to have a look at this issue so that the voice of our members can be heard and there can be a move back towards our previous system of agreed staged disclosure. The current directive issued by the DPP is a guidance document to the CPS however it’s been interpreted and enforced as though it is legislation. We want Parliament to have a look at it this issue and how the current DPP guidance is affecting the Criminal Justice System.”