Jul 6, 2011

Police Bail And The CPS


We have had two senior police officers contact us in respect of prisoners released on police bail. In essence they have told us that long gone are the days when the Custody Officer had the authority to charge a prisoner with a specific offence and bail them to appear at Court.

In all but the most simplistic cases, the decision to charge a prisoner has to be made by the CPS (the Crown Prosecuting Solicitor) who is either unavailable (particularly during the early hours or at the weekend) or has too many files awaiting adjudication for him/her to advise on the appropriate charge – consequently the prisoner is bailed without charge, to return to the police station at a later date.  In the meantime the CPS ponders his decision; more often or not the prisoner answers his bail on the due date, only to be re-bailed because the CPS has not completed the adjudication.

According to both sources of information, the decision making process is economically unsound and adversely effects the administration of justice (because of the time factor, it is often the case the CPS pursues a less serious charge, rather than a more substantive, provable, allegation.  Moreover, after many months with the sword of Damocles hanging over their head, many innocent people return to the Police station, only to be told that no further action is contemplated.

Our sources tell us that if the CPS adjudicators were made redundant and the adjudication process returned to the Custody Officers, the public purse could save millions of pounds in wages and even more in efficiency savings.

We are currently making FOI (Freedom of Information Act) applications to various police forces throughout the Country but if you are a serving police officer or police civilian, we would like to hear from you.

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