Victims Vulnerable to Released Attackers as Police Slash use of Bail Conditions by 90 Percent

UK London Police Shops Crime
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty

Suspected violent criminals under investigation are being released without bail conditions by British police, with the use of bail down 90 percent in a year.

Rapists, domestic abusers, and other violent criminals are routinely released “under investigation” without constraints, The Times reports, potentially leaving attackers free to visit their victims without repercussion.

Previously, such suspected criminals would have been released on bail, which could include conditions banning individuals from contacting their alleged victims or going to particular places.

The paper reports figures obtained from the National Police Chiefs Council showing police bail went from being used in 70 percent of cases to just 7.3 percent, in serious sexual and domestic abuse cases.

Between July last year and February bail was used in less than 8 percent of “high harm” offences. These comprise of violent domestic abuse, hate crime, serious sexual offences, rape, and child abuse.

During the same period the previous year, bail was used in 30.9 percent of such cases, it was revealed in a freedom of information request.

Senior lawyers attributed the 90 percent fall in use of police bail year on year to poorly thought out government reforms that were rushed through.

The elected police and crime commissioner for Dorset, Martyn Underhill, attacked the government of allegedly rushing through “poor legislation without thought of the consequences”.

Ian Kelcey, a co-chairman of the Law Society’s criminal law committee, claimed that the point of the legislation had failed because there was still no control on the length of investigations.

An NPCC spokesman for bail management said that police were continuing to review the impact of the bail changes, whilst the Home Office said the reforms had ended the “injustice of people languishing on restrictive and very lengthy periods of pre-charge bail”.

Last month, new data revealed that more than 90 percent of recorded crimes in the UK are not ending in a charge, falling by two percentage point in a year despite crime levels rising.

The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) from July revealed that, over the same time period, sexual offences have risen by 31 percent, knife and sharp implement attacks by 16 percent, and homicides by 12 percent.

Overall, the number of recorded crimes rose by 11 percent to 5.5 million offences, the highest level in more than ten years.

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