Police bail changes come into force this month

Online materials to support officers and staff published

​Significant changes to the law around police bail came into force across England and Wales on Monday, 3 April 2017 and we have published detailed training materials to help support officers and staff.

The College has published online briefing materials and an FAQ document to outline the main differences in the new legislation for forces.

Under the new legislation, which was given Royal Assent in January, police are required to release suspects under investigation without using bail in the majority of cases.

The biggest change under the new law is there is now a presumption of release without bail in almost all cases, including those where a suspect has been arrested for breach of bail, unless it meets strict criteria around necessity and proportionality.

There are now three main bail periods that the police can authorise. These are:

1. Initial bail 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's extension, authorised by an assistant chief constable or commander, for exceptionally complex cases.

All other extensions to the bail period beyond this point have to be authorised by a magistrates' court.
David Tucker, Crime Lead at the College of Policing, said: "The new legislation is a significant change for policing and has sought to strike a balance between the need for police to manage investigations and not leaving a person suspected of a crime on bail for an unacceptably long period.

"Last year we contributed evidence around a study carried out by the College as part of the extensive national debate around this complex issue.

"We recognise this is a major change for policing and we are supporting our members by providing high quality training materials to help them continue to manage investigations to bring criminals to justice and protect the public."

To assist forces a discussion called 'Pre-charge bail implementation' has also been set up which can be accessed through the Police Online Knowledge Area (POLKA) and appears in the 'custody' community. College staff will monitor this discussion to offer assistance and encourage others to contribute with practical responses.

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