Priti Patel will 'increase maximum bail for suspects to 90 days'
Priti Patel will ‘increase maximum bail for suspects from 28 to 90 days’ as she scraps controversial reforms made after high-profile celebrity cases that left victims at increased risk
- One in seven suspects released under investigation by police was re-arrested
- Police chiefs hail decision to consign the bail changes to the ‘dustbin’ of history
- But they’ve urged Priti Patel to create new offence for breach of pre-charge bail
‘Crackers’ reforms of the bail system designed to speed up the criminal justice system but slowed police investigations, left victims at risk and allowed thousands of suspects to reoffend will be scrapped, it was revealed today.
Home Secretary Priti Patel is set to reverse changes brought in by Theresa May as a chief constable said they were a ‘cautionary tale of ideology driving policy’.
Ms Patel will announce that suspects can be bailed for up to 90 days, according to The Times, and tell police to use bail where it is ‘necessary and proportionate’ such as suspected violent criminals.
But she will reject calls to create a new offence for the breach of pre-charge bail, to the ire of many police chiefs.
David Munro, police and crime commissioner for Surrey, tweeted: ‘The 2017 police bail ‘reforms’ were universally regarded as crackers from the beginning & subsequent experience has confirmed that.
Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured yesterday) will scrap the bail reforms brought in by Theresa May in 2017
Surrey’s police and crime commissioner has said he is delighted that the reforms in the dustbin
‘Thank goodness it looks as though they’ll be consigned to the dustbin but they should never have been introduced in the 1st place.’
David Tucker, head of crime at the College of Policing, said: ‘It is vitally important that the periods of police bail reflect the reality of how long inquiries are likely to take.’
The new rules were brought in by the Government in 2017 to limit police bail to 28 days following criticism of the treatment of celebrities such as the DJ Paul Gambaccini, 67, who was on police bail for almost a year before being told he will not face charges over sex abuse allegations.
One chief constable told The Times: ‘Driving fundamental change on the back of high-profile celebrity cases was always destined to end in tears because it wasn’t thought through. Every policing organisation told the Home Office that their reform was not the answer. They should have listened and didn’t.’
The reforms were to stop police leaving suspects to languish on bail for months or even years before deciding whether to charge them.
The new rules were brought in by the Government in 2017 to limit police bail to 28 days following criticism of the treatment of celebrities such as the DJ Paul Gambaccini, 67,
But, in reality, it has meant the majority of suspects are being ‘released under investigation’ (RUI) with no bail conditions preventing them from contacting their victims.
The average wait for a charging decision for a suspect on bail went from 128 days to 201 days.
Criminal suspects being let loose by police while they were under investigation committed thousands of offences, crime figures suggested.
Over recent years hundreds of killers, rapists and burglars were being re-arrested on suspicion of committing new offences weeks, and sometimes even days after walking out of police stations without any bail conditions.
A Daily Mail investigation in 2019 revealed that on average one in seven suspects released under investigation by police was re-arrested.
In one instance, a suspected thief held in June 2018 was re-arrested a staggering 107 times within three months for offences including robbery, kidnap, car theft, assaulting a police officer, possession of an offensive weapon and dangerous driving.
Another a 22-year-old thug managed to commit 20 crimes including domestic assaults, shoplifting and driving offences in the last year. Yet he was released under investigation every single time by officers.
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