Nazir Afzal OBE

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Nazir Afzal OBE has been described as “the public face of the legal system’s determination to stamp out honour-based violence, forced marriages and grooming”.

Until March 2015 he was the Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP) for the North West of England and one of the most senior ethnic minority staff in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and one of the most celebrated advocates.

When he took to the helm as CCP for the North West of England in 2011, one of his first priorities was to overturn a previously flawed decision by the CPS not to prosecute in the Rochdale sex trafficking gang case – involving predominantly Asian men and under-age white girls. Nazir, himself a British-born Pakistani, said “white professionals”, over-sensitivity to political correctness and fear of appearing racist may well have contributed to justice being stalled.

His bold action where others feared to tread led to nine men in the child sexual exploitation ring - eight of Pakistani origin and one from Afghanistan – being given prison sentences ranging from four to 19 years.

Nazir joined the CPS in 1991 and has successfully prosecuted many high-profile cases, including a Princess Diana stalker in 1996 and the murder of Samaira Nazir, a 25-year-old British Pakistani woman killed by members of her family in a so-called honour killing in 2005. In 2013 he was also responsible for the prosecution of disgraced former BBC presenter Stuart Hall, who indecently assaulted 13 girls.

 In 2012, Nazir’s comments in relation to forced marriages in the travelling community hit the headlines. This is when The Independent described him as “the public face of the legal system's determination to stamp out honour-based violence, forced marriage and grooming”. In 2004, he had made international news by heading the first CPS conference on honour crimes.

 Nazir was born in Birmingham and qualified as a solicitor in the city with Glaisyers, a firm which specialises in alleged miscarriage of justice cases.

He was awarded his OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List in 2004 for his work with the CPS and his involvement with the local community. Other honours include being appointed as the Pro-Chancellor of Brunel University, an Honorary Fellow of the University of Central Lancashire, British Muslim Award, Power 100 Award, an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Birmingham and named Legal Personality of the Year by the Society of Asian Lawyers in 2005. He is also a legal adviser for BBC and ITV dramas as well as a member of the FA Disciplinary panel.  

Watch this space for his new move, perhaps a career in the media beckons?