A victim has the right to ask for a review of a decision not to prosecute a suspect.
Police Victims’ Right to Review (VRR) will only apply when a suspect has been identified and interviewed under caution, either after arrest or voluntarily. An interview in this sense relates to situations where the allegation is put to the suspect in detail, not limited questioning that might take place immediately after an incident, for instance during a stop and search.
Police VRR will only apply to decisions that were made on or after April 1, 2015.
The following cases DO NOT fall within the scope of police VRR:
- Where no suspect has been identified and interviewed.
- Where charges are brought in respect of some, but not all, allegations made or against some, but not all, possible suspects.
- Where the offence charge differs from the crime that was recorded, but relates to the matter reported by the victim. For example if the suspect is charged with common assault, but an offence of actual bodily harm was recorded.
- Where a case ends with an out of court disposal.
- When the victim retracts their complaint or refuses to co-operate with the investigation and a decision is taken not to charge or not to refer the case to the CPS for a charging decision.
VRR relates to decisions not to prosecute and does not cover crime recording decisions or decisions not to continue with enquiries.
Who can apply?
Any victim in a qualifying case where a decision is made not to prosecute can seek a review of that decision.
A victim is defined in The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime 2013 (Victims’ Code) as ‘a person who has suffered harm, including physical, mental or emotional harm or economic loss which was directly caused by criminal conduct’.
- 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.