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28-day limit on police bail comes into force in the UK

Today sees the introduction of new time limits being set on police bail. From today the police will only be able to impose pre-charge bail for up to 28 days.

The new measures have been hailed as a positive move which will prevent thousands of people from languishing on bail for prolonged periods of time leaving them in legal limbo.

The new provisions will limit the amount of time the police can release an individual on bail to 28 days. For more complex cases the police can seek the authority of a Superintendent or above who has the power to extend bail up to a maximum of 3 months. This should only be done where it is necessary and appropriate. If the police wish to extend bail beyond 3 months they must apply to the Magistrates to grant an extension of the bail time limit.

The hope is that by introducing these new measures individuals will no longer face months of uncertainty while police carry out their investigation. In theory no case should be left for prolonged periods of time without coming under the scrutiny of the Court who will check that bail is still necessary and proportionate.

However, one unwelcome consequence of these new limits will be that police invite more people to attend the police station as voluntary attenders. In these circumstances there is no need to release on bail, it is enough for the officers to say they will continue with their investigation and be in touch in due course. The individual may not be on police bail but they undoubtedly will still face the same worry and anguish while they await the outcome. With no limits and no judicial intervention those people could suffer months of uncertainty, exactly the situation these new measures are trying to prevent.

These new bail time limits are a step in the right direction but by no means fix the problem. It remains as important as ever to seek the correct legal advice if you are under suspicion of having committed a criminal offence. Our solicitors are available to represent you at the police station 24 hours a day, whether you are arrested or attend voluntarily. Don’t leave it too late, you can contact our crime department on 07764929487.

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