BCL's David Hardstaff and Rishi Joshi write for LexisNexis discussing the amendments brought by the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Act 2022 (PCSCA 2022) in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE 1984) relating to pre-charge bail.

Here is a short extract from the article*. If you wish to read the full article, please visit LexisNexis website.

"As of 28 October 2022, Schedule 4 to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 (PCSCA 2022) came into force amending the provisions in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE 1984) relating to pre-charge bail. The amendments brought about by the PCSCA 2022 do not materially impact on the main options available to the police and other agencies when dealing with suspects under investigation. However, they introduce significant changes to the former presumption against pre-charge bail, wider powers of investigators to extend pre-charge bail, and a duty to seek views of alleged victims on conditions of pre-charge bail.

Following arrest and interview, suspects may be:

  • released under pre-charge bail with or without conditions, or
  • released under investigation (without bail conditions)

Alternatively, suspects may be charged (with or without bail) and the matter proceed to court, or the decision may be reached to take no further action.

Prior to the amendments introduced by the PCSCA 2022, when a suspect was due to be released, there had been a presumption against pre-charge bail unless it was necessary and proportionate in all the circumstances. This presumption, brought about by the Policing and Crime Act 2017, had been introduced to ad-dress concerns that individuals were being kept on pre-charge bail for excessively long periods of time. PCSCA 2022, Sch 4, Pt 1 amends PACE 1984, s 30A so that a constable may release on bail a person who is arrested or taken into custody. The reintroduction of 'on bail' in this context has the effect of creating a presumption in favour of imposing pre-charge bail."

*This article was first published by LexisNexis on 8 November 2022.

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