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Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the arm of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for public prosecutions of people charged with criminal offences in England and Wales. It is an agency of the Home Office, and is headed by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The police investigate crimes and charge people. The CPS is responsible for deciding whether to actually prosecute, and for the prosecution itself, and defending any subsequent appeals.



The first Director of Public Prosecutions was appointed in 1880, but local police forces were responsible for the bulk of cases, sometimes referring difficult ones to the Director. The Treasury Solicitor was responsible for the conduct of the prosecutions.

In 1884, the offices of DPP and Treasury Solicitor were merged. They were seperated again in 1908. In 1962, a Royal Commission recommended that police forces set up independent prosecution departments to avoid having the same officers investigate and prosecute cases. This was not implemented by all police forces, and so in 1981 another Royal Commission reported that a single Crown Prosecution Service with responsibility for all public prosecutions in England and Wales be set up.

The CPS was established by 'The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985', under the direction of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and included his old department and the existing police departments. It started operating in 1986.