Today April 3rd 2017 the Government made some massive changes to the law surrounding bail conditions and how long a person can be kept on police bail.
This is one of the biggest changes to ‘bail conditions’ meaning offenders cannot be placed on bail for a large number of time.
The new law will aim to stop people subject to police investigation from being placed on bail for long periods of time.
Police Officers will now have to adhere to new nationally agreed rules and investigative timescales the application of bail, with bail only being applied if it’s deemed both necessary and proportionate to do so.
Previously there were few restrictions on the application of police bail or the length of time a person could be subject to it. The issue of suspects being kept on police bail for months (or even years in some cases) received public attention during Operation Yewtree – the high-profile investigation into historic sexual abuse involving many public figures.
It emerged that many of the suspects had been kept on police bail for long periods of time with the vast majority eventually being released without charge.
The Home Office carried out consultation which resulted in a package of reforms which aim to limit the amount of time a suspect can be kept on police bail without the approval of a senior officer and eventually a magistrates’ court.
The reforms were incorporated into the Policing and Crime Bill 2015 and debated in the House of Lords in November 2016 and following the completion of the Parliamentary process come into force on Monday 3rd April 2017.