Right 6 To be provided with information about the investigation and prosecution
Summary of right
You have the right to be told by the police when key decisions on the investigation are made and, where applicable, to have the reasons explained to you within 5 working days (1 working day under Enhanced Rights) of a suspect being:
A – arrested;
B – interviewed under caution;
C – released without charge;
D – released on police bail or under investigation or if police bail conditions are changed or cancelled.
If the police decide not to investigate your case, you will be given an explanation of this decision within 5 working days (1 working day under Enhanced Rights). The police will also offer you a referral to a support service.
Where the police do investigate your case, they will discuss with you how often you would like to receive updates and your preferred method of contact. You can update your preferences at any time.
The investigation and decision on whether the case should go to court can take a long time and there may be long periods between key decisions. The police will discuss with you if you would like contact during this time and provide you with contact details if you have any questions during the investigation.
There may be times when a service provider is unable to provide you with updates and/or use your preferred method of contact, and in these instances, they will tell you why.
In some cases, the police or the Crown Prosecution Service may decide to deal with the case without taking it to court. This is called an out of court disposal. This enables the incident to be dealt with relatively quickly and may prove more effective in preventing further offences.
Where the police or the Crown Prosecution Service are considering an out of court disposal you have the right to be asked for your views and to have these views considered when a decision is made. Where this is not possible for practical reasons, the police or the Crown Prosecution Service will tell you why.
The police or the Crown Prosecution Service will take the final decision after considering the full circumstances of the offence and your views. You have the right to be told the reasons for their decision within 5 working days (1 working day under Enhanced Rights) of an out of court disposal being given to the offender.
When the police have finished their investigation, they may decide what should happen next or, for more serious crimes, pass the information to the Crown Prosecution Service, who will then decide if there is enough evidence to take the case to court.
If the police or the Crown Prosecution Service decide not to prosecute the suspect, you have the right to be told within 5 working days (1 working day under Enhanced Rights) of the decision of:
A – the reasons for the decision;
B – how you can get further information;
C – how to seek a review and make representations under the National Police Chiefs’ Council or the Crown Prosecution Service Victims’ Right to Review scheme; and
D – how to be referred to a support service.
If you are unhappy with police or a Crown Prosecution Service decision not to prosecute the suspect, you have the right to ask for a review under the National Police Chiefs’ Council or Crown Prosecution Service Victims’ Right to Review schemes.
If you are a victim in a specified where the Crown Prosecution Service tells you of a decision not to charge a suspect, you have the right to be offered a meeting unless the Crown Prosecution Service decides that a meeting should not take place. On the rare occasions where the Crown Prosecution Service decide that a meeting is not appropriate, this decision will be explained to you.
If the suspect is charged with an offence(s), you have the right to be told by the police within 5 working days (1 working day under Enhanced Rights) of:
A – the offence they are charged with;
B – the date, time and location of the first court hearing; and
C – where the suspect is released on police bail to appear in court, any bail conditions and any changes to these bail conditions.
If you are a bereaved close relative in a qualifying case you have the right to be offered a meeting with the Crown Prosecution Service prior to or following a decision about whether or not to charge a suspect. If a decision is made to charge, the Crown Prosecution Service will explain how the case is likely to progress and answer any questions that you may have. The Crown Prosecution Service will also discuss your needs and jointly agree how regularly you will receive updates.
If, after the suspect has been charged with an offence(s), the Crown Prosecution Service decides to stop a charge and proceed with another, make a big change to a charge or stop the case, you have the right to be told the reason why and, where the decision is to stop the case, how to ask for a review under the Crown Prosecution Services’ Victims’ Right to Review Scheme, if you disagree with their decision.
Local processes in Bedfordshire, key information and support
What is the Victims’ Right to Review Scheme?
The Victims’ Right to Review Scheme gives victims of crime a right to request a review of police or Crown Prosecution Service decision not to prosecute, or to stop the case.
The Victims’ Right to Review Scheme gives victims the right to ask for a review of a police decision not to prosecute a suspect. This applies to cases in which a suspect has been identified and interviewed under caution, either after an arrest or voluntarily. You have the right to request a review if the police decide:
A – not to bring proceedings in cases where they have authority to charge; or where
B – the case doesn’t meet the test for referring the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision.
Crown Prosecution Service
The Victims’ Right to Review Scheme gives victims the right to seek a review of a Crown Prosecution Service decision not to bring charges or to terminate all proceedings. Under the scheme you can seek a review of the following decisions:
A – not to charge;
B – to discontinue (or withdraw in the Magistrates’ Court) all charges, thereby ending all proceedings;
C – to offer no evidence in all proceedings; or
D – to leave all charges in the proceedings to ‘lie on the file’ (this is the term used in circumstances where the Crown Prosecution Service makes a decision not to proceed and requests that the charges be allowed ‘to lie on the file’ marked ‘not to be proceeded with without the leave of this Court or the Court of Appeal’).
The OPCC’s / Bedfordshire Victim Care Services (BVCS) pledge of how we intend to support the implementation of this right
BVCS support victims of crime whether reported to Bedfordshire Police or not. Victims of crime can self-refer into BVCS by email or a phone call into BVCS on Freephone 0800 0282 887. The Victim Care Coordinators (VCC’s) are fully trained in providing emotional and practical support. Part of this support can include VCC’s emailing an officer in charge of a case, if you as the victim are unable contact them, however BVCS themselves do not provide updates on individual cases to victims.
Ongoing projects or work relating to the Victims’ Code being undertaken by the OPCC or collaboratively with criminal justice partners
As part of the Victims’ Needs Analysis recently carried out by the OPCC, 28 recommendations were made with a view to improving the victims’ journey. They relate to further work on cultural reviews and data analysis, process changes, training and awareness programmes, victim support and approach to commissioned services across partnerships new processes. Some of the recommendations are relatable to the rights within the Victims’ Code and they will be detailed in the communication each week.
There is 1 recommendation relatable to right 3.
VNA Recommendation 2
Victim engagement and case updates – increased engagement with victims is required to provide case updates following reports of crime, in order to improve victim satisfaction, victim’s confidence of the criminal justice system and ensure police compliance with the Code of Practice for Victims. The implementation of an online self-service crime update platform for victims should be considered and researched. This option could also alleviate workload and increase capacity for officers. If online provision is researched and not deemed appropriate, resource is required for this area as well as ensuring education to officers and staff about the importance of timely and appropriate updates. This should be managed in line with the Business Change and Continuous Improvement Board (BCCIB).
It is vital for the police to provide victims of crime with full and comprehensive updates on how their case is progressing. Officers under VCOP are to provide updates within 5 working days or 1 working day under enhanced rights.
A new online self-service for victims to be able to ‘Track My Crime’ is currently being trailed to understand the complexities around what an online service like this brings. Should the trial be successful then this may be rolled out in Bedfordshire in the near future.
There are huge benefits of victims of crime being able to have update on their cases. This can reduce any anxiety around the progression of the case and build a good relationship between the Officer in Charge of the case and the victim.
Getting support after being affected by crime
If you would like to discuss how you could receive support with coping and recovering from the impact of crime, BVCS can help you. BVCS is free, confidential, available to everyone and is a way for you to find the help that meets your specific needs.
Contact: Bedfordshire Victim Care Services
Freephone: 0800 0282 887
(calls are free from landlines and mobiles)
https://www.bedfordshirevcs.com/ (self-referral form found in the contact page)
Monday to Friday: 8am – 8pm
Saturday: 9am – 5pm
Closed bank holidays. Out of hours you can leave a voicemail and we will call back.