Written evidence submitted by Criminal Justice Joint Inspection (VIC0029)
Charlie Taylor, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (Chair)
Justin Russell, HM Chief Inspector of Probation
Andrew Cayley, HM Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service
Andy Cooke, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services
Annex: Previous joint work on the experiences of victims in the criminal justice system (CJS)
Thematic inspections carried out by the CJJI that included a victim focus are listed below.
Meeting the needs of victims in the criminal justice system: A consolidated report by the criminal justice inspectorates (December 2015)
This report compiled findings on the quality of services provided to victims by agencies within the CJS. Despite individual examples of good practice across the sectors, there were unacceptable inconsistencies in the services provided to victims and particular concerns around crimes not being recorded and a lack of empathy shown to some victims.
Evidence led domestic abuse prosecutions – HMCPSI & HMICFRS (January 2020)
This report covered the extent to which the police and the Crown Prosecution Service prepared and built cases with a view to proceeding without the victim if need be, or where the victim had declined to participate. Both organisations were found to have a good understanding of evidence led prosecutions but there were no mechanisms in place to measure their effectiveness which prevented opportunities to learn lessons and share good practice.
Pre-charge bail and released under investigation: striking a balance – HMICFRS & HMPSCI (December 2020)
This report examined how forces used bail and released under investigation (RUI) following legislative changes made by the Policing and Crime Act 2017. Whilst the police had renewed efforts to readdress the balance between protecting victims and the rights of suspects, more could be done to keep at-risk victims safe. For example, when abuse suspects were RUI, domestic violence victims did not receive any of the protections provided by bail conditions.
Impact of the pandemic on the criminal justice system (January 2021)
This report provided a cross-system view of how the criminal justice system reacted in the immediate aftermath of the first national Covid-19 lockdown. The impact of court backlogs on all agencies was of real concern to the inspectorates, particularly given the impact on victims and witnesses who expressed a loss of confidence in the system and became less willing to support cases.
A joint thematic inspection of the police and Crown Prosecution Service’s response to rape - Phase one: From report to police or CPS decision to take no further action – HMICFRS & HMCPSI (July 2021)
The inspectorates traced rape cases through police and CPS files and examined the decisions made and support offered at each stage. They found that while national leads and the Government were committed to improving the experiences of victims in the CJS, efforts to do so at a national level had not made enough difference at a local level. The need for sustained improvements in practice remained.
A joint thematic inspection of the police and Crown Prosecution Service’s response to rape - Phase two: Post-charge – HMICFRS & HMCPSI (February 2022)
The second report examined cases from the point of charge through to their conclusion, including those which were decided in court. Consistent issues with the police and CPS’s management of cases were identified. These were compounded by high workloads and poor communication between the police and CPS and between criminal justice agencies and victims.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the criminal justice system – a progress report (published May 2022)
This report followed up on the Impact of the pandemic on the criminal justice system report and examined the successes of the CJS but also the challenges it had and continued to face. It found most agencies were not yet able to recover to their pre-Covid-19 position, resulting in victims facing the prospect of waiting years for justice and losing further confidence in the system.
 The existing remit of each Inspectorate is set out in: s. 5A, 43 and sch. A1 of the Prison Act 1952 (HM Inspectorate of Prisons); s. 54 – 56 and sch. 4A of the Police Act 1996 (HM Inspectorate of Constabulary); the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate Act 2000 (HM Inspectorate of the Crown Prosecution Service); and s. 6-7 and sch. 1A of the Criminal Justice and Courts Services Act (HM Inspectorate of Probation).
 The report is available at: The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the criminal justice system – a progress report (justiceinspectorates.gov.uk).
 Delivering justice for victims: A consultation on improving victims’ experiences of the justice system - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
 Although the Explanatory Notes state at para 39 that “It is intended that the direction will specify only for the inspection to take place within a given joint inspection business plan cycle”, the current drafting of the clause would allow Ministers to make a direction at any time. This has the possibility to cause disruption to scheduled regular inspection programmes and to thematic work, including joint work, and may also impede the ability to carry out unannounced inspections in practice.
 Reports involve all four inspectorates and can be found on the CJJI website unless otherwise indicated.