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Prosecution lawyers' community role

PUBLISHED: 10:07 05 March 2010 | UPDATED: 09:23 01 August 2010

PROSECUTION lawyers in Suffolk will work with communities in a bid to understand local crime priorities and build confidence in the way justice is delivered.

PROSECUTION lawyers in Suffolk will work with communities in a bid to understand local crime priorities and build confidence in the way justice is delivered.

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lawyers have volunteered to cover six priority wards, including Lowestoft, as part of a scheme aimed at making criminal justice agencies more accountable to the people they represent.

They will work alongside the police, courts and other agencies and listen to local concerns, which may be taken into account when considering the public interest stage of the prosecution process.

Whether or not a prosecution is in the public interest is one of the factors when deciding if a prosecution should go ahead.

The “community prosecutors” will work closely with the Lowestoft Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) to establish these priorities and will attend monthly SNT meetings.

It is hoped this will increase the visibility of the CPS and make them more involved in tackling crime.

Nigel Gilbert, district Crown prosecutor and CPS lead for the community prosecutor scheme, said: “Building community confidence in the work of the CPS is one of our key priorities.

“The decisions of our prosecutors directly affect the lives of the community we serve; therefore, we are delighted to be rolling out the community prosecutors in Suffolk.

“We are bound by the code for Crown prosecutors in all of our decisions, which is applied nationally. Through the work of community prosecutors we can ensure that Suffolk priorities and concerns are brought to the attention of our staff.”

Temporary assistant chief constable Stewart Gull, of Suffolk police, said: “Regular and consistent communication with our communities is vital, not only to find out what their concerns are in their neighbourhoods, but to also let them know what is being done to tackle issues impacting on their daily lives.”

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