Pre-Charge Bail 28-day time limit
The Government imposed a 28-day police pre-charge bail limit on 3rd April 2017, which enables the police to carry out their enquiries under the Policing and Crime Act 2017.
If you are released on police bail it was thought that it should take no longer than a month for a decision to be made about the case. Experience has shown this not to be the case. The idea that the police are expected to have concluded their enquiries and reached a decision as to whether to charge a suspect within this 28-day period has not been borne out.
Previously, there was effectively no legal limit on how long the suspect could be bailed for. Suspects could remain on police bail for months even years with no charge and subject to stringent bail conditions during such time, which imposed limitations upon a person’s private life. The only exception was for for minor offences, such as summary only matters, which had to be charged within a six-month period.
It was hoped that the new 28-day limit would enable the police to continue to investigate offences and that the suspect or alleged victims would not be subjected to substantial delays.
Bail Without Charge – Released Under Investigation (RUI)
There is no prescribed limit to the number of times people can be bailed without charge. The police routinely release suspects under investigation after their initial interview or detention. As there are no bail conditions in place, nor a set date for them to return to the police station, the police are under no obligation to conduct investigations efficiently or diligently.
Release under investigation (RUI) has caused problems for individuals and the legal profession. Those subject to RUI are likely to remain subject to RUI with no time frames for the police to work towards in concluding their case. This can result in investigations going on for years without an outcome.
The new bail time limit of 28 days can be extended for up to 3 months if authorised by a superintendent. Further extensions beyond this must be agreed by the Magistrates Court.
The police are still allowed to apply for further extensions. If they are able to demonstrate a significant complication in the case, then they may be successful in seeking their extensions.
If the police choose to apply to the Magistrate’s Court for extensions, there is no limit on how often such applications can be made. The court must be satisfied that the investigation is taking place expeditiously and feel that there are grounds to keep the suspect on bail.
How Wells Burcombe can help
If you are facing a situation where your bail is being extended and you wish to gain some expert assistance to challenge this and prevent further bail extensions, please get in touch. Call Wells Burcombe’s specialist legal defence team on 01895 449288, or email us via our contact page.