Federation welcomes reform of pre-charge bail

15 January 2021

Changes to the pre-charge bail system which should prevent people being released under investigation for long periods and also cut red tape for police officers have been welcomed by Dyfed Powys Police Federation secretary Roger Webb.

He was commenting on the publication of the Home Office response to a consultation on the reform of pre-charge bail.

“Pre-charge bail was capped at 28 days in 2017 and was something the Federation said would lead to more suspects being released under investigation, reduce the use of pre-charge bail and in turn fail victims of crime,” Roger explained.

“This has proved to be the case. The number of suspects, including violent and sexual offenders, released under investigation has shown a huge increase over the last few years.

“But now initial pre-charge bail will increase from 28 to 90 days with further extensions having to be signed off by an inspector or aseniorofficer. This is a welcome change to the current arrangements.”

Figures released under Freedom of Information laws show the number of suspected offenders released while still under investigation rose from 6,464 in 2016 to 97,473 in 2019.

The full package of reforms will be named ‘Kay’s Law’ in memory of Kay Richardson, who was murdered by her ex-partner following his release under investigation for domestic abuse.

The Police Federation’s National Custody Forum took part in the consultation exercise with John Apter, national Federation chair, commenting today: “These reforms are welcomed and it is refreshing to have a Government which listened to police officers during the consultation period and acted to give colleagues better support as they carry out investigations.”

Read the Home Office response to the consultation.