Human Rights Act must stay, says CPS director Keir Starmer

 

Repealing the Human Rights Act would be “retrograde step” that would hurt the victims of crime and witnesses alike, the outgoing director of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has warned.

In an interview marking the end of his tenure at the CPS, Keir Starmer implicitly criticised the Home Secretary Theresa May, who has said repealing the Act will form part of the next Conservative manifesto.

Mr Starmer said the legislation had significant benefits across the criminal justice system. “The Human Rights Act is a really important constitutional document, it isn’t just a villain’s charter,” he said.

“It has been a real asset to victims and witnesses, and if you trace their rights, you will find them written in the Human Rights Act, so for me it will be a retrograde step to repeal or amend the Human Rights Act.

“I have been very clear on this. I don’t think it’s an Act that should be amended in any way.”

In the interview on the BBC Mr Starmer also suggested that many victims of sexual offences have been afraid of reporting them in the past because police had asked “the wrong questions” and used “crude tests”  to question if victims would be believed.

“If you go into a police station and report a burglary the first question  is not: ‘Are you telling the truth?’ If you are the victim of a sexual offence, very often in the past that has been the first question.” He said that, for the past two years, he had tried to “fundamentally shift where we are in these cases to make sure that the police and courts are with us”.

“The first thing you do is you change the tests,” he said.

“You make it clear that, if you come in to report this sort of offence, you are not going to be tested according to whether you’ve reported it straight away, whether you give a consistent account, whether you’ve ever yourself had drink or drugs etc.”

He said that if victims knew that “you will come in, give your account and then there’ll be a proper investigation”, it would give them more confidence to come forward.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory