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Victim's Right to Review

From 1st April 2015, if you have been a victim of crime and a decision has been taken by Dorset Police not to prosecute, you have the right to request a review of that decision.

A victim, as defined by The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime 2013:

A person who has suffered harm, including physical, mental or emotional harm or economic loss which was directly caused by criminal conduct

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You can request a review if the police have:

  • Identified and interviewed under caution a suspect about the offence, and
  • Decided not to take the suspect to Court, or not to refer the case to the CPS for a charging decision.

You cannot request a review if:

  • The decision was made before 1st April 2015
  • The suspect is issued with an out of court disposal ie Caution, Community Resolution, Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND)
  • No suspect has been identified and interviewed.
  • The victim retracts their complaint or refuses to co-operate with the investigation and a decision is therefore taken not to charge/not to refer the case to the CPS for a charging decision
  • A charge is brought that relates to the matter complained about by the victim but the offence charged differs from the crime that was recorded, for instance the suspect is charged with common assault but an offence of actual bodily harm has been recorded. 

Any victim in a case where police have made a decision not to prosecute a suspect can request a review. 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 a criminal conduct'. This includes:-

  • Close relative of a person whose death was directly caused by criminal conduct
  • Parents or guardians where the main victim is aged 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 can request a review of a police decision not to prosecute within 3 months of the date of the decision by:

  • email VRR@Dorset.pnn.Police.uk
  • call the Victims' Bureau on 01202 222799. 
  • in writing to: VRR, Victims Bureau, Dorset Police, 5 Madeira Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1QL

When requesting a review by post /email, please tell us:

  • your full name
  • your preferred contact method (by phone or in writing)
  • your telephone number
  • your address
  • the offence
  • the date of the offence
  • any reference number you have been given previously
  • if you are not the victim, the victim's name and your relationship to them.
  • brief outline of the reasons why a review is being requested

Once a request is received, we will let you know that we have received it by sending an acknowledgement letter within 10 days. If the request meets the eligibility criteria we will allocate it to be investigated by an officer who has not been involved in the case. We will respond to you with the outcome of our review within 30 days of receiving your request,  either in writing or by phone, as requested by your preferred method of contact. 

Following a review, the original decision can be found to be:

  • correct and no further action is required
  • wrong and the suspect will be prosecuted
  • wrong and the suspect will receive an out of court disposal
  • wrong and the case will be referred to the CPS for a charging decision
  • wrong but the case cannot be prosecuted because the legal time limit to bring proceedings has expired
  • or that further enquiries need to be completed before the reviewing officers can make their decision.

If the victim remains dissatisfied with outcome of the police review and wishes to pursue the matter further, they may apply to the High Court for a judicial review.

The Victims' Right to Review also extends to those decisions made by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). A victim or representative of a victim, has the right to ask the Crown Prosecution Service to review this decision. Details of how you can do this can be found at the CPS website.