Before 1986 the police dealt with all prosecutions brought forward. However, this became a critical issue as it was argued that the organisation dealing with the crime enquiry should be independent from the organisation dealing with the prosecution. Inattention of the prosecutions dealt by the police, the Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure concluded after a report that it would be beneficial if the prosecutions were a self-governing establishment. After the analysis of the report the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was finally set up and began running in 1986. The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 established it. As from 1986 all prosecutions were done by the CPS, which meant the police and the CPS now conducted different roles within the criminal justice system.
The head of the CPS is the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP). The Attorney General appoints the DPP, who must be a qualified lawyer for at least 10years. Below the DPP are the Chief Crown Prosecutors who are head of one of the 42 areas of which the country is dived up and below them is the Branch Crown Prosecutors who head their sub-divided CPS branch.
Within the legal system the police have the duty to obtain as much evidence against a defendant. Once gaining all relevant evidence, they have the option of doing any of the following with the suspect. They can take no further action, they can give an informal warning or give a formal police caution or they can charge or summon the suspect. If the suspect has been charged or summoned they are now put into the formal criminal justice system. The police’s role is now over and all the papers of the case are handed over to the crown prosecution service. It is now the job of the CPS to prosecute the defendant. Convicting someone who may possibly be innocent is a broad error that may occur whilst reviewing cases. To preserve an error of such, the CPS have to thoroughly review all cases brought forward and have to prove ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that the defendant is guilty.
The purpose of the CPS is to look over and be responsible for cases once the police have handed them over to them. They also advice police on the evidence they have gained before they pass the case over for a prosecution thus avoiding cases that are weak.
The CPS were heavily criticised for discontinuing a lot of cases before 1994. It was proven by statistics that the CPS had reached their peak result of discontinuing a staggering 190,000 cases within the year 1992. This became a major problem and had to be overcome. Then in 1994 the Director of Public Prosecutions in regards of the concern issued a code of practice for the crown prosecution service. As from then the CPS would have to take in consideration whilst reviewing any case for prosecution, the code of practice.