Victim's rights to review process
As part of Thames Valley Police's Victims Right to Review (VRR) scheme, if you have been a victim of crime in which a decision has been taken by Thames Valley Police not to prosecute a suspect or not to refer the case to Crown Prosecution Service CPS for a charging decision you may have the right to request an impartial review of that decision.
Thames Valley Police Victims Right to Review Scheme
If you have been a victim of crime and a decision has been taken by Thames Valley Police not to prosecute or refer the case to CPS for a charging decision, you may have the right to request a review of that decision.
When can you request a review?
You can request a review provided that the police have identified and interviewed a suspect about the offence under caution and decided not to charge the suspect or not to refer the case to the CPS for a charging decision unless one or more of the following conditions apply:
- The decision in question was made before 1 July 2015 (rape and serious sexual assault cases) or 1 October 2015 (all other cases).
- The suspect in question has been issued with an out of court disposal for an offence related to the incident in question.
- A positive disposal (charge or out of court disposal) has already been made against at least one other suspect in the case for an offence related to the original incident.
- The victim withdrew the original complaint.
- More than three months have passed between the decision not to proceed and date of the review request (unless a reasonable explanation as to why this delay has occurred can be provided).
- In the event that an investigation into an offence is ongoing and a decision on whether to charge a suspect or suspects has been taken consideration of a VRR may be deferred until the investigation is complete and a decision on whether to charge/refer a suspect has been taken.
Who can request a review?
In order to initiate a review you must be:
- The victim of a crime.
- A close relative of a person whose death was directly caused by criminal conduct.
- The victim’s parent/guardians if the primary victim is under 18.
- A police officer who has been the victim of crime.
- A family member/proxy of a victim with a severe disability or who is unable to communicate.
- A business with a named point of contact acting on its behalf.
What information do I need to provide?
When requesting a review by you need to include:
- The name of the victim.
- Your preferred contact method (by email/letter is the default means of contact).
- Your telephone number and contact address.
- The nature and date of the offence.
- The crime reference number of the offence.
- Any other reference number you have been provided with during previous contacts with the police regarding the case.
If acting on behalf of the victim you will need to supply the following additional details:
- Your name.
- Details of your relationship to the victim.
- A declaration stating that you are acting on the direct instructions of the victim or in the event that the victim is unable to communicate, a minor or suffering from a severe disability and therefore unable to provide instructions, a declaration that you have legitimate and lawful authority to act on their behalf.
How do I request a review?
You can request a review of a police decision not to prosecute by writing to:
CJ Admin Support Officer
Police Victims Right to Review Scheme
Thames Valley Police, Criminal Justice HQ
Except in exception circumstances this request will need to occur within three months (90 calendar days).
What happen after I have requested a review?
Once a request is received we will acknowledgement receipt by letter within 10 days. If the request meets the VRR eligibility criteria we will allocate it for review by an independent review officer not involved in the original investigation and will provide the requestor with the outcome of this review within 30 days of receiving your request.
What are the possible outcomes of a review?
Following a review of the original decisions in a case one of six outcomes may occur:
- Further enquiries need to be completed before the reviewing officers can make their decision.
- Decision upheld - No further action will be taken.
- Decision not upheld - The suspect will be charged and prosecuted.
- Decision not upheld - The suspect will receive an out of court disposal.
- Decision not upheld - The case will be referred to the CPS for a charging decision.
- Decision not upheld – However the case cannot be prosecuted because the statutory legal time limit within which proceedings must be brought has expired.
Is there any way appeal to a VRR decision?
With the exception of cases in which further enquiries need to be completed before a final decision can made decisions made under the Thames Valley Police VRR scheme are final.
In the event that a decision not to charge a suspect/proceed with a case has been made by the CPS any subsequent VRR appeal will fall outside the Thames Valley Police VRR scheme and be dealt with under the CPS VRR scheme.
Details of the CPS VRR scheme can be obtained from:
The VRR/Complaints Coordinator
CPS Thames and Chiltern
112 Oxford Road
Should you wish to contest a VRR decision made by Thames Valley Police outside of the VRR scheme a Judicial Review would be the appropriate legal avenue.