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Lanarkshire COPFS area receives good report

28 May 2010

The Inspectorate of Prosecution has published its inspection report on the Lanarkshire Area of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

The report covers the procurator fiscal offices at Hamilton, Airdrie and Lanark, the third largest area in COPFS in terms of volume of work (11% of the natinal total).

An examination of 134 cases showed overall that decision making across the whole range of crimes was sound. The Inspectorate found:

  • all Crown Office targets were met in the period of inspection;
  • disclosure to the defence was on occasions later than desirable, due in part to the late submission of statements by the police;
  • there were some problems with record keeping on disclosure;
  • input from criminal justice partners was largely favourable, with high hopes expressed for the future benefits of the Sexual Offences Review.

Recommendations include:

  • Lanarkshire Area carries out a review of preparation time in relation to continuations ("churn") and sets up a monitoring system to deal with this;
  • a review of specialist prosecutors be undertaken to ensure that those listed are provided with adequate training to fulfil their role;
  • staff are reminded that guidance on breaking bad news is available;
  • provision of induction training is reviewed, in particular in the areas of deaths work and "on call" work.

The Inspectorate has been conducting inspections of the 11 areas of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, and of Crown Office (headquarters functions). They include reviews of individual cases, bail considerations, management issues, service to victims and witnesses, disclosure issues and equality issues etc.

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