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Wednesday, May 20, 1998 Published at 19:24 GMT 20:24 UK

UK: Politics

Mills failed to shake up CPS

By BBC News online's Nick Assinder.

When Dame Barbara Mills took over the job of Director of Public Prosecutions in 1992 there was little doubt that she would be judged on her handling of the beleagured Crown Prosecution Service.

The service has, since its inception in 1986, been viewed as overly bureaucratic and incompetent and it was up to Dame Barbara to knock it into shape.

Unfortunately, six years later, the criticisms of the service - branded the Criminal Protection Society by senior police officers - has mounted.

Ministers were deeply embarrassed at the CPS's failure to launch prosecutions over deaths in police custody and MPs delivered a number of reports slamming the service's operation and bureaucracy.

It was regularly claimed that solicitors spent so much time on paper work they could not properly concentrate on their jobs.

Failure to prosecute

And the police complained that suspects they were confident they could have prosecuted successfully under the old system were too often not even being brought to court.

Now a report from Sir Ian Glidewell, a former Lord Justice of Appeal, has hammered the final nail into Dame Barbara's coffin.

Despite claims her decision is not related to the report, or that she was leant on by ministers, it is clear she had to go.

The report, which comes after months of investigation, is already on the Attorney General Sir John Morris' desk and is said to be dynamite.

It lambasts the operation of the CPS and demands root and branch reforms. The implication is that Dame Barbara is not the person to carry those out.


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