What is the difference for that matter between "charging" and "prosecuting"?

  • 3
    It might be worth making explicit in the question that you're asking about the Crown Prosecution Service, rather than Child Protection Services...
    – nick012000
    Oct 2, 2022 at 9:22

1 Answer 1


The charging guide, which is applicable to prosecutors and police, outlines the division of charging responsibility between police and the Crown Prosecution Service:

  1. The police may charge:
  • Any summary only offence, irrespective of plea;
  • Any offence of retail theft (shoplifting) or attempted retail theft, irrespective of plea, provided it is suitable for sentence in the magistrates’ court; and
  • Any either way offence anticipated as a guilty plea and suitable for sentence in magistrates’ court;

Provided that this is not:

  • a case requiring the consent to prosecute of the DPP or Law Officer;
  • a case involving a death;
  • connected with terrorist activity or official secrets;
  • classified as Hate Crime or Domestic Abuse under CPS Policies;
  • a case of harassment or stalking;
  • an offence of Violent Disorder or Affray;
  • causing Grievous Bodily Harm or Wounding, or Actual Bodily Harm;
  • a Sexual Offences Act offence committed by or upon a person under 18;
  • an offence under the Licensing Act 2003.

Prosecutors make charging decisions in all cases not allocated to police.

The substantive charging test applies to both police and prosecutors:

Prosecutors and police decision makers must be familiar with the full terms of both the evidential and public interest stages of the Full Code Test as set out in the Code.

A prosecution will usually take place unless the prosecutor, or where appropriate the police decision maker, is satisfied that there are public interest factors tending against prosecution which outweigh those in favour.


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