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Road death prosecutors making widespread failings, finds new report

The joint report, published today by the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) and Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), found the quality of CPS decision-making was good in fewer than half of the 72 cases analysed and the overall standard of communications by the CPS with the bereaved family was poor in 75% of cases.

In the foreword, the chief inspectors of both organisations said: ‘The CPS must reinvigorate its approach to handling prosecutions arising from fatal road traffic incidents. It appears to be accepted that a specialist prosecutor role is necessary – and we consider that it is – but more work is required to define, support and measure the effectiveness of the role. There are excellent policies and commitments to support and inform victims’ families but these lose impact if not implemented consistently.’

The report added that overall the investigation by police staff of fatal road traffic incidents was found to be professional and thorough.

In response, Brake is urging road death prosecutors to take on the recommendations, saying that the findings echo the negative experiences of many bereaved and injured road crash victims supported directly by Brake through its helpline.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: ‘We are very encouraged by the significant progress that has been made by police forces in liaising with road crash victims, and hope they will continue to improve and provide victims with a passionate and dedicated service. However, as is made painfully clear by this report, the service being provided by the CPS is inadequate, in terms of decision-making and communication with victims. The CPS needs to implement the HMCPSI recommendations as a matter of urgency.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.