New rules limit Police Bail

New rules limit Police Bail

 

New rules concerning Police Bail came into effect on 3 April 2017 as part of the Policing and Crime Act 2017.  These changes had been long planned by the Government but repeated delays blocked its implementation until recently.  

 

Summary of the New Rules on Police Bail 

For those arrested and detained in Police custody, it was not unusual for them to be released on Police Bail, often for lengthy periods of time with restrictive conditions, as officers continued with an investigation.  In fact, it was becoming common practice for suspects to spend between 6 months and a year on bail, sometimes longer.  

Now, Police Bail in most cases is limited to 28 days.  However, a single extension of up to 3 months can be authorised by a Senior Police Officer where it is appropriate and necessary. Thereafter, an application would need to be made to a Magistrates’ Court to further extend bail.  An individual should only be placed on Police Bail where it is necessary and proportionate. 

Indefinite bail is not entirely prohibited by the new rule changes but such a situation has now become much less likely and there is a good degree of oversight in place.  

Practical Effect 

This has resulted in a shift in the approach of the Police who now appear more willing to interview a suspect under caution by making an appointment with them to attend a Police Station at a convenient time and date. This is known as a “voluntary attendance”.  The interview takes place outside of Police custody without the need for an arrest. 

It remains important that those who are to be interviewed under caution by the Police arrange for a Solicitor to represent them when they attend the Police Station. 

Often after a voluntary interview, the Police will continue with their investigation.  This leaves a degree of uncertainty for the accused and so it is important that defence solicitors are instructed to press the Police for an outcome. If a decision is reached to commence criminal proceedings, a suspect will be sent a “Postal Requisition” which will set out the nature of the allegations and specify a time and date to attend Court. Again, it is important to instruct defence solicitors in preparing for the Court hearing. 

Contact Old Bailey Solicitors for help

Whether you have been arrested or asked to attend a voluntary interview, please contact Old Bailey Solicitors for more information about how we may assist you.  Contact details can be found here.  

Robert Beighton

Robert Beighton

Rob is a higher courts advocate but his main practice is in the magistrates court, the youth court and at the police station where he has a wealth of experience in representing clients.

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