Keir Starmer’s time as Director of Public Prosecutions

Keir Starmer’s time as Director of Public Prosecutions

Keir Starmer was appointed Chief Prosecutor and head of the Crown Prosecution Service in 2008. He held the post for five years, before becoming leader of the Labour Party in 2020.

The role was a recognition of his work as a lawyer, which included helping to take Vladimir Putin to court for the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, and five years as legal advisor to the Northern Ireland Policing Board, helping to bring communities together following the Good Friday Agreement.

In 2014, Keir Starmer received a knighthood for his services to criminal justice.

What did Keir Starmer achieve as Director of Public Prosecutions?

Keir Starmer made the Crown Prosecution Service work for people:

  • In his first year in the role, he oversaw the first ever UK prosecution of al-Qaeda terrorists.
  • In 2009, he sought a retrial of terrorists involved in a suicide bombing plot that saw them locked behind bars.
  • A year later, he brought forward charges against Tory and Labour politicians during the expenses scandal.
  • In 2012, he worked with Doreen Lawrence to play a crucial role in bringing the racist killers of her son Stephen to justice.
  • When John and Penny Clough’s daughter Jane was murdered after her killer was released on bail, he worked with them to change the law so that no one had to go through what they did – they’re now close friends.
  • In 2013, he launched the Victims’ Right to Review, giving victims and bereaved families the right to challenge decisions not to charge suspects or drop cases.

How Keir Starmer has stood up for victims of crime

Keir Starmer reformed the Crown Prosecution Service so that victims were listened to – as a result, conviction rates of sexual offences rose and victims were better supported.

Conservative MPs in the Tory government at the time praised Keir for his work. The then Tory Attorney General, Dominic Greaves, described Keir Starmer as “one of the most successful directors of recent years” and “highly effective and someone who always behaved with great integrity”.

What Labour will do to tackle crime

Under the Conservatives, 90% of crimes now go unsolved. The Tories have hollowed out neighbourhood policing and taken a wrecking ball to the criminal justice system. That means more criminals being let off and more victims being let down.

Labour has a long-term plan to take back our streets, with a first step to crack down on antisocial behaviour by putting 13,000 extra neighbourhood police and PCSOs on the beat.

We will tackle violence against women and girls, prevent youth crime, and rebuild public confidence in policing and the criminal justice system with much-needed reform.