The Victims' Right to Review (VRR) Scheme gives victims the right to ask for a review of a police decision not to prosecute a suspect.
VRR applies to cases in which a suspect has been identified and interviewed under caution, either after an arrest or voluntarily.
What cases you can ask to be reviewed
You have the right to request a review if the police decide:
not to bring proceedings in cases where police have authority to charge
that the case doesn’t meet the test for referring the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for a charging decision
VRR specifically relates to decisions not to prosecute. It doesn’t cover crime-recording decisions or decisions not to continue with enquiries.
Cases that can’t be reviewed
VRR doesn’t apply if the CPS made the decision, as the right to review lies with them. Visit the CPS website for more information.
VRR also doesn’t apply to the following cases where:
no suspect has been identified and interviewed
only some of the charges are brought against some of the suspects
a positive decision (charge or out of court disposal) has been made about someone else in connection with the incident
the suspect is charged with a different crime from the one that was recorded and complained about by the victim; for example, the suspect is charged with common assault but an offence of actual bodily harm was recorded
it’s disposed of out of court
the victim retracts their complaint, or refuses to cooperate with the investigation, so police decide not to charge or refer the case to the CPS
Sometimes an investigation into an offence is ongoing, so even though police have made a decision on whether or not to charge someone, a VRR consideration may be deferred until the investigation is complete.
Who can ask for a review and when
The scheme applies to any decision made on or after 5 June 2013.
You must request a review within three months of the police decision not to prosecute.
If the case qualifies under the scheme, any victim is entitled to seek a review.
A victim is defined as a person who has suffered:
harm including physical, mental or emotional
economic loss directly caused by criminal conduct
Others can apply on behalf of a victim too:
close relatives of a person whose death was directly caused by criminal conduct
parents or guardians where the main victim is under 18
police officers who are victims of crime
family spokespersons of victims with a disability, or who are so badly injured they can’t communicate
businesses, providing they give a named contact
You can ask someone to act on your behalf, such as a solicitor or MP. In these cases, we'll need written confirmation to show that the person in question has the authority of the victim to act on their behalf.
Outcomes of reviews
There are six potential outcomes of a review:
the original decision to take no further action is upheld
original decision is overturned and proceedings are started against the suspect
original decision is overturned and the suspect dealt with by out of court disposal
original decision is overturned and the case referred to the CPS for a charging decision
police decide to make further enquiries before the reviewing officer can make a decision
original decision is overturned but the case’s statute of limitations has run out so we can’t start proceedings
Whatever the outcome, we’ll write to you confirming it, unless it would be inappropriate to do so or you’ve said you don't want us to.
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the police review, you can pursue the matter further by applying to the High Court for a judicial review.