On some occasions investigating officers may decide that there is insufficient evidence to take action against a suspect; or that to take further proceedings would not be in the public interest. If that happens we will explain why there will be no further action.
The Victim Right to Review (VRR) scheme is the right of a victim of a crime to ask for a review of a decision by the police not to bring charges against a suspect in decisions made on or after 1st April 2015.
It applies to cases where a suspect has been identified and interviewed under caution, either after an arrest or voluntarily. VRR specifically relates to decisions not to prosecute and does not cover crime recording decisions or decisions not to continue with enquiries.
With some exceptions, you have a right to request a review if the police decide:
- Not to bring proceedings in cases where they have authority to charge
- That the case does not meet the Test for referring the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for a decision to charge an offender.
If the CPS made the decision not to proceed, the right to review lies with them. Visit the CPS website for more information.
Cases that can’t be reviewed
- Cases where no suspect has been identified and interviewed
- Only some of the charges are brought against some of the suspects
- Cases where a suspect is charged with a different crime from the one that was initially recorded. For instance if the suspect is charged with common assault but an offence of actual bodily harm has been recorded
- Out of court disposals
- Victim retracts their complaint or refuses to co-operate with the investigation so police decide not to charge or refer the case to the CPS.
Who can ask for a review and when?
Any victim in a qualifying case where a decision is made not to prosecute is entitled to seek a review of that decision.
A victim is defined as ‘a person who has suffered harm, including physical, mental or emotional harm or economic loss which was directly caused by criminal conduct’.
Others who can seek a review include:
- 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
- Businesses, providing they give a named point of contact.
You should have been notified of your right to ask for a review at the point you were informed of the decision not to prosecute. VRR is specifically intended to allow a victim to have an avenue to appeal a decision not to prosecute. It is separate and distinct from any complaint process regarding conduct or service.
A victim can ask someone to act on their behalf, such as a solicitor or an MP, which will require written confirmation that the person in question has the authority of the victim to act on their behalf.
A victim can request a review within three months of being notified of the decision not to prosecute.
When a victim requests a review it will be acknowledged within 10 working days. Wherever possible the review will be completed and the decision communicated to the victim within an overall timeframe of 30 working days.
Where the case is particularly complex or sensitive, it may not be possible to provide a VRR decision within the usual time limits. In such cases, the victim will be notified accordingly and provided regular updates on the progress of the review.
The outcome of the review
There are six potential outcomes of a review:
- The original decision to take no further action is upheld
- The original decision is overturned and proceedings are started against a suspect
- The original decision is overturned and the suspect is dealt with by way of an out of court disposal
- The original decision is overturned and the case is referred to the CPS for a charging decision
- Police decide to make further enquiries before the reviewing officer can make their decision
- The original decision is overturned but the case’s statute of limitations has expired so we cannot start proceedings.
We will confirm our decision in writing, unless the circumstances of the case make it inappropriate to do so or you have requested a different method of communication.
If you are unhappy with the outcome you can pursue the matter further by applying to the High Court for a judicial review.
How to request a review
Use our online victims' right to review scheme application form to request a review.
Related Website Pages
Related Documents & Further Reading
26 Mar 21 8:49 AM