NEWS: RSPCA could loose Power of Prosecution

RSPCA could lose powers of prosecution

British MPs declare that RSPCA should not have powers of Prosecution as they are a charity

The Commons environment committee said there was a “conflict of interest” between the charity’s power to prosecute and its role in investigating cases, campaigning and fundraising.

The RSPCA has been able to bring about private prosecution on animal related welfare cases independently aside from the courts

RSPCA could lose powers of prosecution

The RSPCA website states

Our Prosecution team:

  • review the evidence in the case files submitted by our inspectors
  • work with our inspectors to resolve evidential or legal issues concerning cases
  • make the decision whether or not to prosecute individuals accused of offences relating to animals
  • instruct independent solicitors and barristers where necessary to further advise and present cases at court.

If the RSPCA loses its power of prosecution, the public will need to rely on privately brought about prosecutions to bring animal abusers to justice, unless another non-charitable organisation steps in to take its place. This could lead to a greater incident of animal abuse crimes if the public are unsure of how to proceed.

The Committee recommends the RSPCA should continue its work investigating animal welfare cases, but “withdraw from acting as a prosecutor of first resort” and let the Crown Prosecution Service or other statutory bodies carry out this role.