The Victims’ Right to Review (VRR) scheme relates to the right of victims of crime to request a review of a Police decision not to prosecute a suspect. The right of a victim to request a review arises where the police:
• Make a decision not to bring proceedings in cases where the police have authority to charge;
• Make a decision that the case does not meet the Threshold Test for referral to the CPS for a charging decision
Police Victims' Right to Review (VRR) will only apply to decisions that were made on or after 1st April 2015. The scheme does not apply retrospectively to decision taken before that date. The scheme applies to National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) offences.
Any victim in a qualifying case where a decision has been made not to prosecute a suspect is entitled to ask for a review of that decision.
The definition of a victim is taken from the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime 2013 and is defined as “a person that has suffered harm, including physical, mental or emotional harm or economic loss which was directly caused by criminal conduct.”
• 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
• A business (providing they give a named point of contact)
• Victims wishing to request a review will need to do so by using our Review Form.
• The review will be undertaken by an officer, at least one rank higher than the decision maker, who has not had any involvement in the investigation.
• The reviewing officer will notify the victim of the outcome in writing unless it is inappropriate or the victim has stated this is not their preferred method of contact.
• Learning points from outcomes will be shared appropriately.
• If a review reveals issues of misconduct or under-performance these will be dealt with in the normal manner.
• Name of the person submitting the request – including their address and contact details
• Details of the victim – including the victim’s address and contact details
• Crime report reference number or police incident number and date
• Date and type of offence
• Brief outline of the reasons why a review is being requested
• Victims can request a review within 3 months of being notified of the decision.
• Requests from victims will be acknowledged by Northumbria Police within 10 working days.
• Where possible, the review will be completed and the decision communicated to the victim within 30 working days by Northumbria Police. When this is not possible, the victim should be notified and updated regularly on the progress of the review.
• For some offences there are time limits of 6 months for taking proceedings, this is set out below in Section 127 of the Magistrates Court Act 1980 :
Magistrates Court Act 1980 - 127 Limitation of time
(1)Except as otherwise expressly provided by any enactment and subject to subsection (2) below, a magistrates’ court shall not try an information or hear a complaint unless the information was laid, or the complaint made, within 6 months from the time when the offence was committed, or the matter of complaint arose.
(2)Nothing in— (a)subsection (1) above; or (b)subject to subsection (4) below, any other enactment (however framed or worded) which, as regards any offence to which it applies, would but for this section impose a time-limit on the power of a magistrates’ court to try an information summarily or impose a limitation on the time for taking summary proceedings, shall apply in relation to any indictable offence.
(3)Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (b) of subsection (2) above, that paragraph includes enactments which impose a time-limit that applies only in certain circumstances (for example, where the proceedings are not instituted by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions or some other specified authority).
(4)Where, as regards any indictable offence, there is imposed by any enactment (however framed or worded, and whether falling within subsection (2) (b) above or not) a limitation on the time for taking proceedings on indictment for that offence no summary proceedings for that offence shall be taken after the latest time for taking proceedings on indictment.
• The original decision to take no further action is upheld
• The original decision is overturned and proceedings are commenced against the suspect. (i.e. they are charged or summonsed)
• 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 Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for a charging decision
• It is determined that further enquiries need to be completed before the reviewing officer can make their decision
• The original decision is overturned but the case is statute-barred and proceeding cannot be instigated.
• A victim who is unhappy with the outcome of the review can appeal to Northumbria Police. An officer of a higher rank than the reviewing officer will then consider the review further.
• A victim who is unhappy with the outcome of the second review can pursue the matter further if they wish by applying to the High Court for a Judicial Review.