‘We are absolutely determined to get it right’: Max Hill on one of the CPS's biggest challenges

2020 may have been a year like no other, but 2021 was a chip off the old block and relentless from day one. The director of public prosecutions tells us about 12 more months of dealing with Covid while pushing ahead with new challenges
Photo: James Cridland/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

By Civil Service World

03 Jan 2022

 

What was your highlight of 2021?

Our people have faced exceptional challenges this year and I am so proud of the determination and resilience they have shown. Despite the unprecedented pressure on the criminal justice system this year, they have remained committed to seeing justice delivered through independent and fair prosecutions.

How did you tackle the biggest challenges facing your organisation in 2021?

One of the biggest challenges facing the criminal justice system is tackling rape and sexual violence against women and girls. The gap between reported incidents and cases reaching court is unacceptable. The devastating impact and scale of this issue means it is being debated across the country and, rightly so, millions across the country want to know what is being done about it. We are tackling this head on with honesty and transparency. 

"The devastating impact and scale of this issue means it is being debated across the country and, rightly so, millions across the country want to know what is being done about it"

We are not where we want to be, but we have come together with partners across the criminal justice system to tackle this issue we all face. We have already made changes, such as introducing new minimum standards for victim support and working closer with the police to drive up the use of early advice to build stronger cases, but there is still a long way to go and we are absolutely determined to get it right.

What is your number one priority for 2022?

Not just next year, but every year, my number one priority – and that of my staff – is the same. It is to ensure that the Crown Prosecution Service acts thoroughly, fairly and independently in each and every case we deal with so that justice is secured for all. 

The pandemic has brought significant difficulties, with the challenges of court backlogs and our vastly increased workloads. I am determined to support all staff at the CPS as we continue to recover from the past two years. 

Our recovery project aims to ensure our people are in the best position to provide a high-quality service to victims, witnesses and the public, with the skills and resources they need to do their job. The funding for the CPS over the next three years, announced in the Spending Review, is welcome news and will support us as we work to complete our five-year CPS 2025 strategy.

Which historical, mythical or contemporary figure would you most like to join you for a New Year’s Eve celebration?

Thomas Cromwell. A fearsome figure perhaps, but he embodied social mobility before it was a phrase. He was a forerunner of the civil service and he created the working middle class in this country. 

I am a fan of Hilary Mantel, and thoroughly enjoyed the stage production of The Mirror and the Light. And apparently Cromwell enjoyed a good dinner. 

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