Pre-charge Bail

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th September 2016.

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Photo of Karl McCartney Karl McCartney Conservative, Lincoln 12:00 am, 5th September 2016

What plans the Government have to make changes to pre-charge bail.

Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing and the Fire Service)

The Policing and Crime Bill will introduce statutory safeguards to the pre-charge bail process, including time limits and judicial oversight, which will increase accountability and scrutiny in a way that is manageable for the courts as well.

Photo of Karl McCartney Karl McCartney Conservative, Lincoln

I have met a now 18-year-old constituent of Lincoln— and his family—who has been on a pre-charge bail for over a year since he was 17. As far as anyone is aware, there has been no admission of guilt, and nor are the police or the CPS in a position to charge or take my constituent to trial, which is yet another disturbing aspect of the case. I am fully aware that this is an operational matter for the police, but my constituent’s rights to a family life and education are currently being detrimentally severely impacted by what I feel is the police’s underfunded and understaffed investigation. Will my hon. Friend please agree to meet me to discuss my constituent’s situation and how police forces across the country can best avoid lengthy periods of pre-charge bail, particularly for young suspects?

Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing and the Fire Service)

My hon. Friend makes an important point. It is not right that some people can spend months or even years on pre-charge bail, with few or no safeguards. I would be happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss how reforms might affect the case he mentions. We will bring forward further amendments to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to ensure that 17-year-olds are treated as children and are safeguarded as such.