Are the police bound, in their summary only (in-house) charging decisions, like the CPS is, to follow the public interest test?

  • 2
    – Heddy
    Commented Dec 28, 2023 at 8:06
  • Who says the CPS is "bound"? There's only a guide. If they don't follow it, they may get some negative publicity and/or in-house disciplining, that's all.
    – Greendrake
    Commented Dec 28, 2023 at 23:08
  • Since when does police, the investigative service, bring charges and not the prosecution?!
    – Trish
    Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 9:59
  • 1
    @Trish I think since long before the CPS even came into existence. Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 12:34
  • If it's not the law or public interest, then the only thing left is their own personal interest. Commented Dec 30, 2023 at 22:17

1 Answer 1


The charging guide expressly says it is applicable to prosecutors and police and that the substantive charging test applies to police as it does to the CPS.

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.

A failure to act in accordance with settled policy in the Code for Crown Prosecutors or associated guidance is a ground on which one can have a charging decision judicially reviewed.

  • Being bound comes with reviewability and overturnability. But, whereas prosecutorial discretion is guided, it is not reviewable by any higher authority.
    – Greendrake
    Commented Dec 28, 2023 at 22:33
  • So, how does this answer answer the question? Are the police bound?
    – Greendrake
    Commented Dec 28, 2023 at 22:35
  • 2
    Broadly speaking, decisions to prosecute and not to prosecute are subject to judicial review. A failure to follow the charging guide is a reason to order the prosecutor to reconsider the decision. cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/…
    – Lag
    Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 8:59

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