The Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO) is an independent Government Department. It prosecutes cases in England and Wales investigated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). Its independence as a prosecutor is a key constitutional safeguard.
Its prosecutors work closely with investigators from HMRC and SOCA who are responsible for gathering evidence. Before any prosecution is initiated, its prosecutors will advise them on:
the potential prosecution consequences of the investigation routes that might or have been followed;
appropriate disclosure of material to the defence.
As soon as criminal proceedings begin, RCPO takes over full responsibility for the conduct of the case. RCPO therefore employs no staff on the prevention of tobacco smuggling which is an inherent part of HMRC's functions.
The information is as follows:
(a) In 2007-08 RCPO spent an estimated £2,838,268 to prosecute tobacco smuggling offences.
(b) In 2008-09 RCPO spent an estimated £2,152,722 to prosecute tobacco smuggling offences.