Government legislation on police bail, which is being rushed through the Commons today, has important implications for the separation of powers and rule of law, says the Lords Constitution Committee today
In its report on the Police (Detention and Bail) Bill, the committee says that Parliament is being asked to legislate in "highly unusual circumstances". While there is an "understandable rush" to rectify an urgent and serious problem, Parliament must consider the implications fully.
The Bill would make it clear that only the time spent in police detention counts towards the 96-hour detention limit and that the "detention clock" is paused when an individual is released on police bail. A High Court judgement on 19 May overturned that practice when it ruled that police could only detain a suspect for a total of 96 hours: the "detention clock" carried on ticking throughout any bail period.
This fast-track legislation is unusual in that has been introduced while the High Court’s judgement is under appeal to the Supreme Court.
The Bill will be taken through all its Commons stages today (Thursday 7 July) and will be debated in the Lords on Tuesday 12 July. It is expected to receive Royal Assent before the end of next week.