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Crown Prosecution Service

Volume 512: debated on Tuesday 22 June 2010

5. How long on average it took for the Crown Prosecution Service to decide whether to prosecute in cases referred to it in (a) Northamptonshire and (b) England in the latest period for which figures are available. (3381)

During the year ending May 2010, the Crown Prosecution Service took an average of 13.6 days to complete a pre-charge decision in Northamptonshire, and 8.1 days in England as a whole.

What encouragement and advice can my hon. and learned Friend offer to Northamptonshire CPS so that it improves its performance and gets up to the national average?

I have absolutely no doubt that my hon. Friend, who is my parliamentary neighbour, will give his own encouragement to his local CPS. A lot has been done, although a great deal more can be done, and I am sure that, between us, we will keep Northamptonshire CPS up to the mark.

I welcome the Solicitor-General, who is my near neighbour, to his new post.

When Members of Parliament write to the CPS to make representations on behalf of constituents about cases that it is considering, are there any guidelines on how long it should take the chief Crown prosecutor to write back to them?

All letters from Members of Parliament, whether to the headquarters of the Crown Prosecution Service, or to the chief Crown prosecutor for a particular area should be answered speedily. Occasionally, work has to be done to provide a full answer, and I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman, whom I thank for his kind remarks, will understand that it is better to receive a thorough answer a few days late than a half answer on time.