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In May 2010, the Home Secretary announced that responsibility for charging decisions for a number of offences would be returned to the police in order to “cut bureaucracy”.

The Labour Government had previously transferred responsibility for charging decisions in all but the most minor of cases to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) with the introduction of “statutory charging” between 2004 and 2007.

The present Government ran two pilot schemes trialling the transfer of a wider range of charging decisions back to the police between 2010 and 2012. The changes were subsequently set out in fifth editions of the Director of Public Prosecutions’ Guidance on Charging, published in May 2013.

The Government have also made changes in the related area of “specified proceedings” to expand the range of offences and circumstances in which the police are able to prosecute instead of the CPS.

This note provides a summary of recent developments regarding the transfer of responsibility for charging decisions and prosecutions from the CPS to the police.

Changes relate to England and Wales only.

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