CPS director faces dissent from lawyers

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BARBARA MILLS, the Director of Public Prosecutions - under attack from both police and barristers over the way cases are being handled - is now facing dissent from within the Crown Prosecution Service, writes Heather Mills.

Senior CPS lawyers believe that their professional discretion over the way prosecutions are dealt with is being increasingly fettered by the policies set by their senior management.

Crown prosecutors have accused their management of being deaf to criticism and blind to the growing crisis in the service. They are also said to be 'angry and concerned' about lack of consultation and guidance about other issues, including grading, staffing and pay.

Yesterday, the Association of First Division Civil Servants decided in the light of the 'unprecedented seriousness' of the situation to survey members' attitudes within the CPS before deciding whether to take further action.

They are being asked whether they have any confidence in the senior management at the CPS headquarters and whether management policies have interfered with their duties as prosecutors.

Last month, the Government's senior law officers came to Mrs Mills after London police officers called for her to resign. And barristers also criticised Mrs Mills over the number of cases that were being thrown out before coming to trial. Last year 193,000 of the 1.5 million cases received were thrown out before trial.