A New Regime for Police Bail – Make Sure You Know It!
The Crime team at Emery Johnson Astills are all too familiar with the length of time a suspect can be on bail for, so we hope these new changes will make a difference.
In April 2017, as a result of the Policing and Crime Act 2017, there will be new changes to the way you are dealt with if you have been arrested and released from a police station. Currently the police use pre-charge bail to allow for further investigation to be carried out. This new legislation restricts the use of pre-charge bail and introduces a requirement for bail to be used only when it is necessary and proportionate. In fact, there will now be many cases where the imposition of bail will not meet these requirements.
Even if these requirements are met, then the police are limited to granting pre- charge bail for a 28 day period of pre-charge bail and this must be authorised by an inspector. A further extension can only be authorised by a superintendent and even then only for a maximum of three months.
Before agreeing to impose pre-charge bail the authorising officer will need to be satisfied that four conditions are met;
- There are reasonable grounds to suspect that the suspect is guilty of the offence
- Further investigation is needed or further time for police decision to charge is required
- The investigation or charging decision is being conducted diligently and expeditiously
- Release on bail is necessary and proportionate
If these conditions are not met the authorising officer must release the suspect with no bail. This means that whilst the investigation can continue the suspect will not be on bail to return to a police station. It is unclear how the police would deal with the situation if further evidence emerges. We are Emery Johnson Astills will be following developments with interest.
Emery Johnson Astills are expert Solicitors with a dedicated criminal department able to assist with explaining this new legislation and any other issues upon which you require advice.
The full impact of this legislation and the difficulties surrounding it, have caused a variety of issues however it has still be given the go-ahead and will be enforce from April 2017.