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The Victims’ Right to Review (VRR) scheme provides victims with the right to ask for a review of a police decision not to prosecute a suspect. The right of a victim to request a review happens when the police:

  • Make a decision not to bring proceedings in cases where the police have authority to charge; or
  • Make a decision that the case does not meet the threshold test for referral to the CPS for a charging decision

As a victim of crime if you feel that your case has not been handled appropriately under the above circumstances, you have the right to request a review of your case.

Please contact the officer who dealt with your case and ask for it to be reviewed under a victim’s right to review.

Durham Constabulary Victim Right to Review (VRR) guidance

In order to deliver an excellent service to victims and comply with Article 11 of the EU Directive on Victims (EU Directive), Durham Constabulary have implemented a Victims Right to Review (VRR). Under this scheme victims can request a review of the police decision to take no further action (NFA) in certain cases. This guidance sets out the principles and parameters for Durham Constabulary’s VRR scheme. 

Who can apply under the scheme?

Any victim where a decision is made by police not to prosecute is entitled to seek a review of that decision.

A victim is defined as per The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime 2013 (Victims’ Code):

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

This includes:

  • close relatives of a person whose death was directly caused by criminal conduct;
  • parents or guardians where the main victim is a child or youth 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. 

VRR is intended to allow a victim to have an avenue to appeal a decision not to prosecute.  It is not intended to allow others, such as campaigning groups, to direct reviews of cases that relate to their area of interest and as such these requests should be declined. 

It is acknowledged that a victim might ask an individual to act on their behalf, such as a solicitor or an MP.   These requests will be considered on a case by case basis when written confirmation is received from the victim that they wish the other named person to act on their behalf.

Qualifying criteria

VRR only applies to National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) offences. VRR only applies to cases in which a suspect has been identified and interviewed under caution, either following an arrest or by voluntary arrangement.  An ‘interview’ in this context means situations where a suspect has an allegation put to them in some detail as opposed to limited questioning that might take place in the immediate aftermath of an incident, for instance during a stop and search.

The right of a victim to request a review arises where the police:

  • make a decision not to bring proceedings in cases where the police have authority to charge;
  • make a decision that the case does not meet the Threshold Test for referral to the CPS for a charging decision.

 The following cases DO NOT fall within the scope of Durham Constabulary VRR:

  1. cases where no suspect has been identified and interviewed, for instance investigations that are filed ‘at source’;
  2. cases where charges are brought in respect of some (but not all) allegations made or against some (but not all) possible suspects;
  3. cases where 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;
  4. cases which are concluded by way of out of court disposal;
  5. cases where 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.

Please note that VRR specifically relates to decisions not to prosecute and does not cover crime recording decisions or decisions not to continue with enquiries.

Time limits

Victims can request a review within 3 months of being informed of the decision to take NFA.

The victims request to review will be acknowledged within 10 working days. The review should be completed by police within 30 working days (6 weeks) of the request being made.

Where a case is particularly complex or sensitive it may not be possible to review the decision within 30 working days. Where this is the case police will inform the victim of this and set a realistic timescale for review. In these cases the victim will also be provided with regular updates on the progress of the review by the reviewing officer.

Where a case is due to become statute barred every effort will be made to expedite the review and consultation with the CPS if required to make a charging decision should be sort at the earliest possible stage.

The VRR process

In all qualifying cases victims will be notified of their right to ask for a review at the point they are informed of the decision not to prosecute by the OIC.  Victims should be told of the decision to take NFA as soon as possible after the decision is made.

The notification itself can be made as part of a verbal update to the victim and does not need to be made in writing.

The victim should register their wish to invoke their right to review by providing the following information via e-mail to or in writing to Durham Constabulary, Aykley Heads, Durham, DH1 5TT :

Victim's details

  • Forename(s)
  • Surname
  • Address
  • Telephone number (mobile)
  • Telephone number (home)
  • E-mail address

 Requestor's details (if different from victim)

  • Forename(s)
  • Surname
  • Address
  • Telephone number (mobile)
  • Telephone number (home)
  • E-mail address
  • Relationship to victim

 Crime details

  • Crime number
  • Offence
  • Date reported
  • Reason for review

Select Here to visit the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) website for more details on the Victims' Right to Review Scheme itself.