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Update to Police Bail rules

3rd April 2017 saw significant changes in the powers of the Police to bail those arrested for criminal offences.

Previously the police had been able to bail  suspects for weeks and months on end, even in some cases more than 12  months. You will have read in the press some of the cases involving celebrities, bailed for more than a year, only for the police to make a decision not to pursue the case any further.

This obviously caused great anxiety and stress to those under suspicion for such a long time.

As a consequence of complaints made and public concern over the years the government introduced legislation to remedy this, by the Policing and Crime Act 2017.

There is now a presumption to release without bail in most cases unless strict conditions are met that are necessary and proportional

Now the police can release suspects on bail if the following apply:

  • Initial bail for 28 days if authorisedby an Inspector
  • Extend bailto 3 calendar monthsfrom the initial date of bail , if authorised by a superintendent.
  • A further 3 calendar months, if authorised byan assistant chief constableor commander level,in cases that are exceptionally complex.

In all other cases the magistrates court will need to authorise any extension to bail.

The effect of this should be an end to suspects being released on bail for long periods unless in exceptional circumstances.Instead it seems more likely that the police will simply release people following interview without a bail date.Once the police have completed their enquiries the likelihood is that they will invite those suspected back to the police station for a further interview ,if they have new evidence. If they do not attend then the police can arrest if they have new evidence.

Otherwise the police may simply decide to charge,sending the charge in the post.

The police are also obliged those suspected  of the outcome of their enquiries if there is to be no further action. How this will work in practice remains to be seen.

Our Business Defence Solicitors provide high quality private crime advice, primarily to business owners, company directors and individuals who want a business class service when dealing with criminal matters.