Police prosecution powers to be extended

Powers are to be given to the police to allow them to prosecute up to 50 per cent of magistrates’ court cases.

The announcement means that about 500,000 cases will be taken through the courts by officers rather than the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) – a move which it is hoped will reduce time and prevent the duplication of work between the police and the CPS.

Speaking at a Police Federation conference the Home Secretary, Theresa May, told officers that the new powers would begin with uncontested traffic offences where the defendant does not enter a plea or fails to turn up to court.

The Home Secretary said:

“Wasting police time is supposed to be a criminal offence, but that is going on in courts every day of the week.

“This move will slash bureaucracy, speed up justice and hand more discretion back to police officers.

Officers can already prosecute uncontested low-level traffic offences such as speeding, failing to produce a driving licence or driving without insurance, but the Home Secretary said not all forces are using the powers available to them.

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