The Victim’s Right to Review scheme gives victims of crime in certain circumstances, the right to ask for a review of a police decision not to prosecute a suspect.
When is it applicable?
It is only applicable to decisions not to prosecute that were made on or after 1st April 2015 and to cases in which a suspect has been identified and interviewed under caution, either following an arrest or by voluntary interview.
Your right to request a review arises in the following circumstances where the police decide:
- not to bring proceedings in cases where they have authority to charge a suspect; or
- that the case does not meet the evidential standard for the required Threshold test for referring the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service for a decision to charge an offender. You can read more about this on the Crown Prosecution Service website;
Are there cases that do not qualify for the Police Victim’s Right to Review?
Yes, the following cases do not fall within the scope of the Police Victim Right to Review;
cases where no suspect has been identified and interviewed, for instance cases investigated and closed after initial report;
- cases where charges are brought in respect of some (but not all) allegations made or against some (but not all) possible suspects;
- cases where a charge is brought that relates to the matter complained about by the victim but the offence charged differs from the crime that was recorded; for instance the suspect is charged with common assault but an offence of actual bodily harm has been recorded;
- cases which are concluded by way of out of court disposal; for instance the suspect is given a conditional caution for the offence; and
- cases where the victim retracts their complaint or refuses to co-operate with the investigation and a decision is therefore taken not to charge/not to refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision.
Who can apply under the scheme?
Any victim (as defined in the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime 2015) whose case meets the above criteria is entitled to seek a review of the police decision not to prosecute.
This can include:
- close relatives of a person whose death was directly caused by criminal conduct;
- parents or guardians where the main victim is a child or youth under 18;
- police officers who are victims of crime;
- family spokespersons of victims with a disability or who are so badly injured that they cannot communicate; and
- businesses, providing they give a named point of contact.
The Police should have been notified of your right to ask for a review at the point you were informed of the decision not to prosecute.
The Victim Right to Review is specifically intended to allow a victim to have an avenue to appeal a decision not to prosecute. It is separate and distinct from any complaint process regarding conduct or service.
Is there a time period within which I can ask the police for a review?
Yes, you can request a review within 3 months of being notified of the decision not to prosecute.
How long will it take?
Once we receive your request we will acknowledge your request within 10 working days. Wherever possible, the review will be completed and the decision communicated to the victim within an overall timeframe of 30 working days (i.e. 6 weeks from receipt of the request from the victim).
Where the case is particularly complex or sensitive, it may not be possible to provide a VRR decision within the usual time limits. In such cases, you will be notified and provided regular updates on the progress of the review.
What outcomes can I expect?
There are six potential outcomes of a review;
- The original decision is upheld;
- The original decision is overturned and proceedings are commenced against the suspect, i.e. they are charged/summonsed;
- The original decision is overturned and the suspect is dealt with by way of an out of court disposal for example a caution;
- The original decision is overturned and the case is referred to the CPS for a them to make a decision;
- It is determined that further enquiries need to be completed before the reviewing officer can make their decision;
- The original decision is overturned but the time within which information can be laid is out of time (statute-barred) and proceedings cannot be instigated.
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