MPs debate Police (Detention and Bail) Bill

08 July 2011

Secretary of State for the Home Department, Theresa May, introduced the second reading of the Police (Detention and Bail) Bill on Thursday 7 July. The Bill also was considered in Committee of the whole House and received third reading.

Watch and read all the proceedings on the Police (Detention and Bail) Bill on Parliament TV. The Bill will now be considered by the House of Lords.

Police (Detention and Bail) Bill

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) sets out the length of time that a suspect can be detained in police custody after arrest before being charged or released (with or without bail).

A suspect can be detained for an initial period of up to 24 hours starting from the 'relevant time' - usually the time of arrival at a police station following arrest. This period can be extended for up to a further 12 hours on the authority of a police officer of the rank of superintendent or above, and subsequent court applications may enable the detention period to be extended to a maximum of 96 hours.

It had previously been assumed that releasing a suspect on bail effectively paused the 'detention clock', so that when the suspect answered police bail and was re-detained, the clock could then be restarted, even if the re-detention was at a point later than 96 hours after the 'relevant time'.

However, a recent High Court decision, the Hookway case, ruled that this was not the case and that the maximum 96-hour period specified in the Act runs from the relevant time and cannot be suspended and re-started.

The Bill would reverse the effect of this High Court decision.

The House of Commons Library have produce a briefing paper on the Bill

Keep up to date with all the proceedings and documents on the Police (Detention and Bail) Bill. Also find out how a Bill becomes an Act of Parliament.

Image: iStockphoto 

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