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Call for review of the bail system

Call for review of the bail system

Legal experts are demanding a review of police bail practices and a new, set time limit of around a month.

The proposals made by The Law Society come as a BBC Radio 5 live study found there are at least 57,428 people currently on bail in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with many having to wait more than six months to find out if they are going to be charged for a crime.

The data from 34 of 44 police forces in the three nations comes from a Freedom of Information request. It discovered 3,172 people have been waiting for more than half a year for a final decision on charges. There are more people on bail overall (12,178) and for more than six months (910) in the Metropolitan Police force’s area than any other. West Yorkshire police’s record of 3,979 people on bail and 859 for more than six months places it second on both lists, while Greater Manchester Police report that it has 3,854 people on bail.

The BBC has also discovered that one person was arrested and bailed by the Met three years and seven months ago and has still not been told whether charges are to be made.

The chairman of the Law Society’s criminal law committee, Richard Atkinson, is calling for a 28-day maximum period for bail that can only be extended by a magistrate. He said it would mean the police would have to explain the progress of investigations and state why they need more time.

We have one of the leading teams of criminal specialists in West London and the South East. If you are facing a serious criminal charge, contact a member of the IBB’s Criminal Defence team: call us on 08456 381 381 or email criminaldefence@ibblaw.co.uk.