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Victims' Right to Review

From 1 April 2015 victims of crime now have the right to request a review of any decision by the police not to prosecute a suspect. If you wish to apply for a review you must do so within 3 months of being informed of the police decision to take no further action. After 3 months have elapsed the right to review does not apply.

A victim can request a review of their case if:

  1. A decision not to prosecute an identified suspect was made on the grounds of insufficient evidence or public interest.
  2. We did not have the authority to prosecute without Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) consultation and the matter was not referred to the CPS on the grounds of insufficient evidence or public interest.

What offences and cases qualify?

The scheme only applies to cases where a suspect has been identified and interviewed under caution, either after arrest or by voluntary arrangement. The scheme only applies to police decisions made after 1 April 2015.

What offences and cases do not qualify?

  • Cases where no suspect has been identified and interviewed.
  • Cases where charges are brought in respect of some (but not all) allegations made or against some (but not all) suspects.
  • Cases where a suspect is charged with an offence, but that charge differs from the crime that was recorded. An example is a suspect charged with common assault but the offence of actual bodily harm was recorded.
  • Cases which are dealt with by way of Out of Court Disposal.
  • Cases where the victim retracts their complaint or refuses to co-operate with the investigation.

Who can request a review?

Any victim in a qualifying case where a police decision not to prosecute has been made. A victim is "a person who has suffered harm, including physical, mental or emotional harm or economic loss which was directly caused by criminal conduct." See the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime for more information.

This includes:

  • Close relatives of a person whose death was directly caused by criminal conduct.
  • Parents or guardians where the main victim is a child or youth under 18.
  • Police officers who are a victim of crime.
  • Family spokespersons of victims with a disability or who are so badly injured that they cannot communicate.
  • Businesses, providing they give a named point of contact.

What will happen when you request a review?

Once a request is received, we will let you know that we have received it within 10 working days.

If the case meets the qualifying criteria we will allocate it to an officer or person at least the rank above the original decision maker who has not been involved in the investigation.

We will respond to you in writing with the outcome of the review within 30 working days of us receiving your request.

What are the possible outcomes after a review?

  • The original decision is upheld (and remains the same).
  • The original decision is overturned and proceedings are commenced against the suspect, i.e. they are charged/summonsed.
  • The original decision is overturned and the suspect is dealt with by the way of an Out of Court Disposal.
  • The original decision is overturned and the case referred to the CPS for a charging decision.
  • It is determined that further enquiries need to take place before the reviewing officer can make their decision.
  • The original decision is overturned but the case is statute-barred and proceedings cannot be instigated. Some offences are barred by law from being prosecuted six months after they have occurred.

How do I request a review?

You can request a review of a police decision not to prosecute within 3 months of the date of that decision. This can be done online by filling in the request a review submission form, or by writing to:

Victims' Right to Review
Justice Services
Staffordshire Police Headquarters
PO Box 3167
Stafford
ST16 9JZ

Your request should include the crime complaint number, the officer dealing with your case and a brief summary of the circumstances and your reasons for requesting the review.