The Policing and Crime Act came into force on 3rd April 2017, it has changed the way suspects are released from custody and their rights during and after investigation.
These changes were prompted by high profile investigations which kept suspects on bail for a protracted period. Most notably Paul Gambaccini has written and campaigned extensively about his retention on bail, with multiple re-bails and the distress it caused him.
Prompted by multiple complaints, the then Home Secretary Theresa May ordered an investigation into people being held on pre-charge bail. This investigation uncovered thousands of suspects languishing on bail (at the start of 2017 the number of people on pre-charge bail was around 80'000), sometimes for over a year, whilst investigations limped on.
The Policing and Crime Act seeks to prevent suspects, who do not need to be on bail, being put on bail in the first place. For those who are put on bail it introduces set time periods during which that bail must be reviewed and justified in order to remain in place.
The act came into force on 3rd April 2017 and does not act retrospectively. This means that all suspects who were currently on bail as of the 3rd April remained under the old bail provisions, however anyone bailed for the first time on or after 3rd April is subject to the new law.
To obtain a free copy of Guidance to Pre-Charge Bail, or for information on training resources please use the contact page.