Changes to pre-charge bail

Changes to pre-charge bail, also known as police bail, came into force across England and Wales on 3 April 2017.

The Policing and Crime Act, which was given Royal Assent in January, introduced a number of changes to policing.

These include changes to the pre-charge bail process and means that the powers to release a suspect on bail have changed under the new legislation.

What do you need to know?

The changes to bail apply to all arrests made after midnight on Monday 3 April.

The biggest change is that there is now a presumption of release without bail unless strict criteria are met around necessity and proportionality.

The decision as to whether a suspect will be released on bail will be made on a case by case basis.

There are three main bail periods that can be authorised by police. These are as follows:

  1. An initial bail period for 28 days authorised by an inspector;
  2. An extension to the initial bail period, to three calendar months from the bail start date, authorised by a superintendent;
  3. A further three calendar month extension, authorised by an assistant chief constable or commander. This extension only applies to exceptionally complex cases.

All other extensions to the bail period beyond this point will have to be authorised by a Magistrates' Court.

The changes to pre-charge bail do not affect the role of police in serving and protecting the public. The grounds for arresting an individual remain the same, crime will still be investigated fully and victims will continue to be supported.

Overview of the Policing and Crime Act 2017

Further information on the subject of bail.


Related concerns:

Why is bail used?

What is 'refused bail'?

I'm on bail and have lost my paperwork

Can juveniles be 'refused bail'

I want to change my bail conditions

What if I'm on bail and can't sign or answer on time?

Someone I know is on bail and breaching their conditions

Source: North Wales Police

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