I intended to write one article about the demise of our criminal justice system but once I started I realised I that would be one on its own and I would have to split the topics up. More will follow. I'll begin with the Crown Prosecution Service.
Many people will assume the Crown Prosecution Service has always existed. In fact, they only came into existence in 1986. At one time police officers used to prosecute cases (I did a few in my time) but lawyers did not like this (particularly the defence). A royal commission recommended the creation of prosecuting solicitors departments in police forces and up to 1986 all Police Forces employed their own prosecuting solicitors. This was the regime I grew up in and I found it most effective. Prosecuting solicitors were part of the team that tackled crime. Police and lawyers working together was a most effective way of dealing particular problems that arose in different areas, they responded to events in that area. This meant that the government didn’t always control what they did and as usual the government did not like not having control. Just as in my previous article which explained how the government were thwarted (temporarily) in their attempts to control the police, they also wanted to control the prosecution process.
The answer was to create the CPS. A national body headed by the Director of Public Prosecutions who is appointed by the Attorney General, who is in turn a political appointment. The CPS is thereby politically controlled and exercises control of prosecutions through its “Code for Crown Prosecutors”. This doesn’t mean the politicians interfere in the judicial process on an individual basis although I couldn’t guarantee that this is always the case. The CPS uses two tests, evidence and public interest. This all sounds quite benign until you realise the CPS is also involved in “Equality and Inclusion”. The “Public Interest” is what the politicians say it is.
The CPS has thus become part of the social engineering apparatus that successive governments have constructed. No longer is it about prosecuting criminals, it is about achieving social outcomes. For example, there is a belief amongst many politicians that the demographic of prosecutions should reflect the national demographic in terms of race. This is a view that is heavily promoted today. It reflects the socialist perspective (and I include Theresa May and many Tories in this category), that there should be equality of outcomes in any process, including prosecutions. This of course assumes there is equality of input into the process and any policeman who has worked a beat will assure you that crime is not equitably distributed amongst our population. Different crimes feature at varying rates amongst different demographic segments. In order to balance the books, the police would need to arrest a lot more woman and a lot more Chinese. Both feature less than their proportion of the population. Seeking equality of outcome is a perversion and illogical.
Justice is no longer blind and applied equitably. The system looks at your ethnicity and religion. Try publicly burning a bible one day and a Koran the next. Would the judicial response be the same? Absolutely not. How else would someone be sentenced to two years in prison for putting a rasher of bacon on a mosque door.
Within the police service there was and maybe still is a suspicion that the CPS had undeclared targets that their prosecution rates should reflect local demographics. The CPS always denied this when challenged, but if they did not have such targets, it is very difficult to explain some of their decisions not to prosecute.
Police officers have a very heightened sense of justice, they see things first hand, unlike lawyers. Any suggestion that police officers are impartial observers in the criminal justice system is naïve. They want to see villains put away and one of the organisations that frustrates them is the CPS.
My answer would be to take politicians out of the prosecutions process. They have no right to be there. To do this we need to abolish the CPS and go back to local prosecuting solicitors, accountable locally to the police and public.
By Mike Speakman