Starmer: next cuts hit services

Further savings in the Crown Prosecution Service will require politicians to make decisions about the justice system’s priorities, the former director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, has told CSW.

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By Matt.Ross

20 Nov 2013

The former DPP, whose five-year term ended last week, said that the CPS can cope with the cuts to 2016 – expected to total more than 30% – but “there comes a point where you can’t keep taking money out, and I think there’s a need for a wider discussion about what we actually want our courts to do.”

“If the criminal justice system is to cope with the savings that have to be made, then sooner or later a political discussion is needed about what you want your criminal justice system to do,” he said. “And therefore there is, I think, a space for a discussion about what we want to keep out of court; what we want to go into court; is there anything out of court that ought to go in; is there anything in that ought to come out; and how we dispose of what’s going in as efficiently and fairly as possible. And I think now’s the time for that discussion.”

Asked whether this is a job for ministers, Starmer replied: “That is a political discussion, and that’s where the discussion should take place because these are obviously policy choices for politicians.”

Starmer also called for politicians to reform the various systems of “out of court disposals” – cautions designed to keep offenders out of court. “We suffer from the fact that the development of out of court disposals has been piecemeal, so different disposals have been added at different times to be used by different bodies with slightly different criteria,” he said. “We need a coherent, stepped approach.”

See also: CSW's full interview with Starmer

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