The UK has experienced a sharp rise in the popularity of private prosecutions over the last few years. Statistics show that, since 2015, an increasing number of individuals and corporate entities have relied on independent investigators and specialist law firms, rather than the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), when seeking legal redress.
In the wake of budgetary cuts to the police force and the lowest prosecution rates in the UK since records began, many have discovered that private prosecutions are not only a viable method for bringing criminals to justice, but an increasingly attractive one.
In our new whitepaper, 'The Rise of Private Prosecutions’, we take a closer look at this trend.
What is a private prosecution?
Private prosecution can trace its origins back to the early 19th century. A time before organised police forces, it was left to the victim to investigate and prosecute the crime themselves. The only exceptions being capital offences, like treason.
Ever since that time, any citizen or organisation in the UK has enjoyed the right to initiate a private prosecution — so long as they possess the means to pursue the case and have a realistic chance of securing a conviction. Eventually, the right to private prosecution was enshrined in British law via section 6(1) of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985.
However, it wasn’t until relatively recently that private prosecutions were viewed as more than a last resort. Victims of crime have begun to realise that pursuing a case independently is the only recourse to justice — for several reasons.
Why is it on the rise?
Since the coalition government introduced various budget cuts to the police force and CPS in 2010, the biggest issue facing the UK criminal justice system is a lack of resources.
Aside from the loss of 17,000 front-line officers between 2010-2015 (a 12% reduction), the Metropolitan Police has suffered from an acute shortage of experienced detectives, leaving investigations in the hands of inexperienced, less skilled officers. At the same time, the CPS had its budget cut by 25%, resulting in the loss of 2,400 staff. Taken altogether, this has severely compromised the state’s ability to investigate and prosecute crime effectively.
Certain types of crime have been affected more than others by these cuts; fraud, counterfeiting, and cyber-crime to name but three.
To make matters worse, cases of fraud have increased in the last few years. For high net worth individuals and organisations, the threat posed by this dichotomy puts them at risk of losing substantial sums of money to such illegal activity and, in the worst-case scenarios, bankruptcy.
This combination of factors has left people disillusioned with the criminal justice system.
Download The Rise of Private Prosecutions
However, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
In our new whitepaper, we aim to help individuals and organisations understand exactly why private prosecution has increased in popularity over the past few years and how it benefits victims seeking justice.
You'll also find valuable insights into:
- The processes that underpin private prosecution
- The benefits and pitfalls
- What you should consider before pursuing a case
- How the rigours of modern policing and shifting strategies have affected criminal investigations
- What sets AnotherDay apart from other investigations firms
Download your free copy of ‘The Rise of Private Prosecutions’ today.