In response to the new “proportionality test” for the Crown Prosecution Service which could lead to even more criminal suspects being let off without going to court, Peter Cuthbertson, Chief Executive of the Centre for Crime Prevention, said:
“Already the great majority of crimes lead to no one being charged, so it is very worrying that new reasons to avoid prosecutions are being proposed. Crime should not be shrugged off on grounds of proportionality. The evidence suggests that zero tolerance of lesser offences is key to tackling the most serious crimes.”
The “proportionality test” appears in The Code for Crown Prosecutors, released today, which states (p.13) that:
“Prosecutors should also consider whether prosecution is proportionate to the likely outcome, and in so doing the following may be relevant to the case under consideration:
· The cost to the CPS and the wider criminal justice system, especially where it could be regarded as excessive when weighed against any likely penalty.”
1. Today’s press release from the Crown Prosecution Service setting out the new code is available at http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/press_releases/dpp_publishes_new_code_for_crown_prosecutors_following_public_consultation/. The Director of Public Prosecutions is quoted defending the inclusion of proportionality.
2. The new code is available at http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/assets/uploads/files/code2013english.pdf (pp.12-13 discuss proportionality).
3. The Centre for Crime Prevention is a new group founded to campaign for an evidence-based approach to sentencing and policing. The web site is www.centreforcrimeprevention.com. The CCP aims to:
• uncover the facts about how many serious and repeat offenders avoid prison every year
• counter naive wishful thinking that puts vulnerable people at risk by failing to incarcerate those who are a danger to others
• support beat-based zero tolerance policing
• put victims of crime and law abiding citizens first