The United Kingdom is considering doubling or tripling the amount of time suspects in criminal investigations can be bailed without charge, reversing a 2017 reform enacted by then-Prime Minister Theresa May, who put a 28-day limit on police bail, a new consultation launched on Wednesday has revealed.
"Since rule changes in 2017 there have been concerns that pre-charge bail is not always being used where appropriate to protect victims, investigations are taking longer to conclude and that this has had adverse impacts on the courts", Patel said in the consultation document.
At present, a suspect can be initially bailed for a maximum of 28 days. Patel’s proposed reforms could see this term doubled to two months, or even tripled. Additionally, the new proposals would delay the point at which magistrates' approval is needed to extend bail terms from three months, to either six, nine or twelve months.
May proposed bail term limits in 2014, after a number of high profile cases involving individuals who were on police bail for up to a year before being told that no further action would be taken.