What is it?
- From 1 April 2015, GMP introduced a Victims' Right to Review scheme which gives victims the right to ask for a review of a decision not to prosecute a suspect. This right is set out in Article 11 of the EU Directive on victims which comes into effect in November 2015.
What offences and cases qualify?
- The scheme only applies to National Crime Recording Standard offences and to cases where a suspect has been identified and interviewed under caution, either after arrest or by voluntary arrangement. The scheme only applies to cases charged on or after 1 April 2015.
Who does it apply to?
Any victim in a qualifying case where a decision is made not to prosecute is entitled to ask for a review of that decision. The definition of victim is from the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime 2013 (Victims’ Code) ‘a person that has suffered harm, including physical, mental or emotional harm or economic loss which was directly caused by criminal conduct’. This includes:
- 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.
Victims who are entitled to an enhanced service in the Victims’ Code – vulnerable or intimidated, victims of most serious crime and persistently targeted victims should be helped to make an informed decision about their right to ask for a review. Reviews requested from victims entitled to enhanced service should be carried out as quickly as possible to minimise the impact on them.
How will the scheme work?
- Victims will be notified in writing of their right to ask for a review at the point they are informed of the decision not to prosecute.
- Victims wishing to request a review will need to do so in writing by letter to the Head of Criminal Justice, Greater Manchester Police, Openshaw Complex, Lawton Street, Openshaw, Manchester M11 2NS, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- The review will be undertaken by an officer, at least one rank higher than the decision maker, who has not had any involvement in the investigation.
- The reviewing officer will notify the victim of the outcome in writing unless it is inappropriate or the victim has stated this is not their preferred method of contact.
- Learning points from outcomes will be shared appropriately.
- If a review reveals issues of misconduct or under-performance these will be dealt with in the normal manner.
What details will I need to provide?
- Name of the person submitting the request
- Address and contact details
- Details of the victim
- Address and contact details
- Crime Report Reference number
- Date and type of offence subject of police investigation
- Brief outline of reasons supporting request for review
Are there any time limits?
- Victims can request a review within 3 months of being notified of the case being filed.
- Requests from victims should be acknowledged within 10 working days.
- Where possible the review should be completed and the decision communicated to the victim within 30 working days. This might not be possible and where this is the case, the victim should be notified and updated regularly on the progress of the review.
What are the potential outcomes of a review?
- The original decision to take no further action 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;
- The original decision is overturned and the case is referred to the CPS for a charging 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 case is statute-barred and proceeding cannot be instigated.
What if the victim is unhappy with the outcome?
- A victim who is unhappy with the outcome of the police review and wishes to pursue the matter further can apply to the High Court for a judicial review.
- A victim could appeal a police decision not to prosecute resulting in that decision being overturned and the matter being referred to the CPS for a charging decision. The CPS could then decide to take no further action and the victim would then be entitled to ask for a review of the CPS decision under the CPS Victims Right to Review scheme and ultimately to refer the matter for a judicial review.