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Techie1

Fed raises concerns as pre-charge bail changes come into force

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Changes under the Policing and Crime Act are being introduced today.

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Forces are preparing for pre-charge bail changes set to come into play today under the new Policing and Crime Act.

As previously reported, the new law introduces a presumption to release individuals without bail, with bail only proposed when necessary and proportionate.

A limit of 28 days will also be placed on pre-charge bail, with an officer only at the rank of superintendent or above able to authorise an extension.

Norfolk and Suffolk Police said suspects can now be “released under investigation” instead of on bail before facing possible charges.

Although enquiries will continue as normal, changes will mean that suspects are no longer required to return to a police station and will be issued with a notice outlining offences that could lead to further police action.

Suffolk Constabulary Deputy Chief Constable Steve Jupp said the quality of enquiries will not be affected by the changes.

“We have spent the last few months preparing for these changes and hundreds of officer across both forces have undergone training to ensure that we are totally ready for dealing with the new process of pre-charge bail when it arrives,” he said.

“I would stress that if you have reported a crime to us and a suspect has been ‘released under investigation’, this is in no way a reflection on your allegation.

“A suspect who is released under these terms remains very much under our investigation until all reasonable enquiries have been completed.”

Both the Police Federation, the College of Policing and the NPCC have raised concerns about the plans, stating that the 28-day limit is “unworkable” and time will be taken up applying for extensions rather than investigating crime.

“One problem is that the Home Office does not spell out what is ‘proportionate’. It will be a massive change in custody culture and be a considerable challenge,” said the Fed's custody lead Andy Ward.

“Cyber-crime, for example, requires computers to be seized and equipment to be interrogated to gain evidence. The results for detailed forensic tests also take some time to come back.” 

Other changes coming into force today include a new duty for police and emergency services to collaborate and an increase in the maximum penalty for stalking and harassment offences. 

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I wonder what the Fed were telling the government 12-18 months ago when this was first mooted because its little late now to do anything about it.  The CoP also seemed to have dropped the ball when it cam to lobbying about this issue as they only seemed to wake up to the potential pitfalls of the changes about 3 months ago.   

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What a load of rubbish by the DCC, I wish they would start telling the truth….………..'released under investigation” means nothing………they are basically free to commit further crimes. 

At least bail allowed officers to keep track of suspects after interviewing them. Now, officers will need to get all their evidence together before getting suspects in and once they are in, use the full 24hr clock to finalise the job. This is going to add further pressure on officers to get their work done quicker, resulting in longer delays in getting to active incidents due to lack of resources.

More work & pressure for officers in CID & PPU …………………...

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We have the usual "Scallies" who we see month in month out but among all this there are sometimes people who are innocent.  It should only bee the more serious and complex cases which need a time limit of more than 28 days. It has not been unheard of for people on bail for  long periods to surrender to bail when the investigators have know for several weeks that they are not going to be proceeded against and could have informed them prior to this and cancelled their bail.  Thankfully those cases are few and far between.

There are however genuine cases which are more complex and require more time. 

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To get 28 days Bail will still be a tall order to get as Insp. has to authorise it and the majority will be released under investigation / ROS.

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9 hours ago, Mark101 said:

To get 28 days Bail will still be a tall order to get as Insp. has to authorise it and the majority will be released under investigation / ROS.

Yes, but a Superintendent can authorise longer.

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21 minutes ago, Zulu 22 said:

Yes, but a Superintendent can authorise longer.

But only after an Inspector has authorised the original 28 days.

The fact is that any remotely complicated investigation will require numerous bail authorisations and extensions which will take up increasing amounts of time as the level of authority gets higher. 

I think that the old system should have been tweaked rather than these wholesale changes being made as they do very little to protect to victims but do a lot more to protect suspects.

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I agree, but I would have no problem with authorising the first 28 days and, I would think that a Superintendent would not have too many problems.

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We have been told bail will be very rare now and to expect re-arrest with any new evidence coming to light i.e., forensic evidence, cannabis ID, etc will be new evidence and bail will not be given for these things…….change days for us.

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Cons:

Having to arrest on new evidence

Having to take up more time out of our limited time to make further arrests

Having to find hard to find suspects a second time

Losing the ability in some cases to impose relevant bail conditions

Suspect centric rather than victim centric

Bureaucratic with increasing amounts of time being needed for every additional extension

New time limits don't take bottlenecks into account such as forensics or drugs tests let alone more complicated investigations such as indecent images or large scale fraud.

Suspects not knowing if and when we are going to come back to make a further arrest

 

Pros:

Easy headline for the government so say that they are reforming the police

Sledge hammer to crack a nut to reform the minority of times when bail has effectively been open ended.

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What changes in behaviour have people seen since the new bail act came into place?

In April my force bailed 3 people with everyone else being released under investigation so bail use has plummeted.  One unintended side effect was highlighted by a solicitor who was asking me about property I had seized from his client who had been RUI with the solicitor predicting taht it would probably take me longer to get it triaged now without a bail date being in place than under the previous system as I wouldn't have a firm deadline to work to.  The new system for granting bail is also taking a long time to bed in with some Inspectors and custody sergeants being at odds about the rules particularly over the proportionality of certain measure.

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