10. What estimate he has made of the annual cost to the public purse of avoidable errors by the Crown Prosecution Service. (902351)
The CPS does not maintain a central record of the number or value of wasted costs orders, but I can tell my hon. and learned Friend that the total value of costs awarded against the CPS in the last financial year, of which wasted costs orders are a mere subset, amounted to just over £1 million, which was about 0.18% of overall expenditure.
I am grateful to my hon. and learned Friend for that answer. Terry Boston, a solicitor in my constituency, said the following in an email to me last week:
“I am becoming more and more concerned about justice in this country. The reason for this is the blatant failure of the CPS and their one line cover all excuse, ‘We are short of staff.’”
I appreciate, as does Mr Boston, that savings have had to be made, but can my hon. and learned Friend assure the House that the CPS does have sufficient staff in place, both nationally and in Lincolnshire, to perform its functions?
I am grateful to my hon. and learned Friend for his question. I can assure him that the CPS does indeed have sufficient staff in place to properly do its work. The CPS conviction rate in his region last year was 84.2%, which is slightly higher than the national average.