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Crown Prosecution Service

Volume 708: debated on Thursday 10 February 2022

Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service inspectorate recently published a report on CPS performance in the west midlands, and it is due to report on Yorkshire and Humberside in April. I am pleased to say that, despite the pressures of the pandemic, the report on the west midlands found that commendable improvements had been made, including in seeking orders to protect complainants and witnesses, and in handling third-party disclosure.

Youth crime plagues several parts of Rother Valley; there are hotspots around Greenlands Park in North Anston, the market area in Dinnington, and the Queen’s Corner in Maltby. How is the CPS tackling serious youth crime and youth antisocial behaviour in Rother Valley and across the whole of South Yorkshire?

My hon. Friend is an energetic campaigner and spokesman for those of his constituents who are, sadly, afflicted by crime. The simple answer to his question is: more prosecutors, better training and closer liaison with the police. The CPS has an area youth justice co-ordinator, who is responsible for local training and sharing best practice. Last month, the CPS team in South Yorkshire secured a murder conviction and a life sentence with a 17-year minimum for Kyle Pickles, who was responsible for the tragic murder of 15-year-old Loui Phillips. I hope that Loui’s family can take some solace from the fact that justice was done in that tragic case.

I thank the Attorney General for her response. I have written to her about the need for the CPS to better understand local circumstances when making decisions. Will she look again at the possibility of co-locating CPS lawyers in local police stations, in order to ensure that they make the best possible decisions, based on local knowledge?

I have seen my hon. Friend’s letter. The point that he raises is critical to the success of the work of the CPS and the police. Closer liaison and better working between police and investigators creates better outcomes for victims and at trial. That is why I am pleased that the west midlands is an Operation Soteria area—that operation is pioneering and institutionalising closer working, by ensuring early investigative advice, improving action plans, and ensuring closer and better scrutiny of the decisions of the police and the CPS. It is a great area where there is some good work.