England

Yorkshire and Humber prosecution work 'must improve'

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) staff in the Yorkshire and Humber region have been told to improve the quality and efficiency of their work.

An inspection of the CPS Yorkshire and Humberside Group in February and March found cases were processed at speed "to the detriment of quality".

A report said victims and witnesses were not being "given consistently the level of service they deserve".

The group said improvements had been made since the inspection.

The report, by HM Crown Prosecution Inspectorate, said: "With the focus on processing high numbers of cases at speed, moving cases on to the next stage, often at the last minute, was seen as the imperative.

"This meant that weak ones were not made stronger or were not discontinued until a very late stage, wasting resources and time.

"This was contributing in particular to the high unsuccessful outcome rate in West Yorkshire magistrates' court cases."

'Better service'

However, the report did say that very serious and complex casework was "generally handled well with good outcomes" and budget controls within the group were "sound".

Martin Goldman, the region's chief crown prosecutor, said: "Whilst I recognise the need to improve, it's also important to recognise that many of our outcomes are higher than the national average.

"We're challenging quality at every opportunity. We have introduced rigorous checks and feedback to all staff to ensure we learn lessons and improve wherever possible."

Mr Goldman said storage facilities, finance and performance units had been centralised and two complex casework units had been merged, leading to "a better service with a more standardised approach, improved skill levels and reduced duplication".

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