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The Paper Chase (4)

February 2, 2007
The whole purpose of us locking people up is to put them before the courts.

In order to do this, we have to put together a file of evidence for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Sounds simple doesn’t it? Couple of witness statements, the charge sheets and a few bits of other information.

If only it were so.

The CPS have devised a method of making sure that police officers are kept tucked up safely behind a desk moving bits of paper about. It’s called The Manual of Guidance for the Preparation, Processing and Submission of Files. Take a look at the link – you’ll love it!

When I first joined, the preparation of files was quite a simple process, even when someone went “not guilty”. In those cases, a “full file” has to be submitted, with statements from everyone involved and all the information that the police had on the case. A full file was made up as follows

MG1 – File front sheet – gave details of the accused and the type of offence

MG4 – Charge sheet – the list of offences that the accused is being tried for

MG5 – Case Summary – a synopsis of all the witness statements to provide the prosecutor with a means of avoiding reading all the statements

MG7 – Remand Application – completed if applying to keep the accused in custody

MG9 – Witness List – all the people who have made statements

MG10 – Witness Availability – when witnesses are on holiday, nights or rest day. Particularly useful for the courts to ensure that officers are called to court at the most inconvenient time

MG11 – Witness Statements – from everyone involved in the case, regardless of how trivial their involvement

MG12 – Exhibit List – a list of any physical evidence, not in statement form, such as interview tapes, murder weapons, CCTV tapes and other stuff

MG15 – Record of Interview – a summary of the tape recorded interviews, to remove the need for the CPS to have to listen to police officers try and get a cough.

Sounds quite straightforward and a full file could be knocked out in about an hour, providing the statements were in hand.

This is a quote from the Home Office web site

The Home Office issued a new edition of the Manual on 23 October 1997 under cover of Home Office Circular 58/1997. The changes to the Manual will reduce paperwork and other tasks that remove police from operational tasks and at the same time should help to improve the quality of case files. The number of forms required has been reduced. The remaining forms have been simplified and improved in consultation with the working group on police information systems.”

This is now the list of documents that have to be included in a full file.

MG1 File Front Sheet

MG2 Initial Witness Assessment

MG3 Report to Crown Prosecutor for Charging Decision

MG3A Further Report to Crown Prosecutor for Charging Decision

MG4 Charge Sheet

MG4A Conditional Bail – Grant/Variation

MG4B Request to Vary Conditional Bail

MG4C Surety/Security

MG5 Case Summary

MG6 Case File Information

MG6B Police Officer’s Disciplinary Record

MG6C Police Schedule of Non-sensitive Unused Material

MG6D Police Schedule of Sensitive Material

MG6E Disclosure Officer’s Report

MG7 Remand Application

MG8 Breach of Bail Conditions

MG9 Witness List

MG10 Witness Non-Availability

MG11 Witness Statement

MG12 Exhibit List

MG13 Application for Order on Conviction

MG15 Record of Interview

Now I only managed to get A Level Maths, which may explain why in my opinion, this reduction in the number of forms as stated by the Home Office is actually a significant increase in the number of forms. Perhaps someone with a degree in Pure or Applied Maths can double check my counting and see if I’ve got it wrong.

All this paper is for the benefit of the CPS – not the police, yet we are the ones who have to get it all together. Then people wonder why there are no bobbies on the beat!

If you’ve managed to get this far, then I commend you for your patience. I’ve tried to give a short summary of the paperwork we deal with on a day to day basis. Unfortunately, there is no short summary.

I won’t bore you any longer with this and I’ll get back to normal moaning and groaning in due course.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. weggis permalink
    February 2, 2007 18:07

    And I’ve just read that the UK is the third largest importer of illegal timber.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6316419.stm

    Now we know why.

  2. Terry permalink
    April 3, 2007 14:57

    oh, it would be so much easier if you could just, like, make it up as you go along. Bring on the republik

  3. Anonymous permalink
    May 6, 2007 11:51

    The most interesting form is the Police Officers disaplinary record???
    No form to list the crims previous work history!!!

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