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For centuries the responsibility for investigating crime and bringing offenders to trial lay with the private citizen and then more recently with the police. The establishment of the Crown Prosecution Service in 1986 radically altered the system. Investigation is still handled by the police but the CPS now makes all subsequent decisions relating to prosecution.
This book explores the concept of the. public prosecutor and chronicles the establishment of the new Service. The author assesses to what extent the CPS has achieved its aims of independence from the police, greater efficiency, and improved-public accountability. Its performance has been strongly criticised; this analysis deals with the competing interests involved and discusses what further developments may be desirable.
The author, Sir Thomas Hetherington, was the ninth holder of the office of Director of Public Prosecutions and, having been closely involved in its creation, was the first head of the Crown Prosecution Service.