Understanding bail conditions
At times Leicestershire Police will come into contact with families who are clients for social care services. In some cases suspects will be arrested and given bail, either so further enquiries can be carried out, or so that they can attend court.
Often bail is granted subject to certain conditions, which are designed to reduce the risk of further offences being committed. These may include a ban on making contact with alleged victims or witnesses, a ban on visiting certain locations, or a requirement to live at a particular address.
Although the police will monitor and where necessary take action for any breaches, you should not assume that the suspects will obey those conditions. You should still consider a full range of options to safeguard vulnerable families and individuals.
On average 50 people a month are arrested for breaching their conditional bail by Leicestershire Police. The majority of these are for breaching conditional bail imposed by the courts, as oppose to bail conditions imposed by the police. To put that into context, 285 people a month are released on conditional bail each month by Leicestershire Police. However, we don’t know how many others breach their bail in ways we never hear about.
Conditions can only be imposed which are necessary to ensure the offender's appearance at court, that offences are not committed on bail, or to prevent interference with justice or witnesses.
Types of conditions
The reasons for bail conditions should be specific and justifiable. The conditions must be effective and capable of being enforced.
Examples of bail conditions include:
The defendant must not contact, either directly or indirectly, a named person or people, for example the victim and any children;
the defendant must not go to a named place, for example the victim's place of work, shopping area or children's school;
the defendant must reside at a named address;
the defendant must report to a named police station on a given day or days at a given time;
the defendant must abide by a curfew between certain specified hours;
the defendant must wear an electronic tag.
Breach of bail conditions is not an ‘Offence’ but does carry a power of arrest.
Up to 90% of defendants are successfully bailed with conditions, which are complied with and has therefore meant that the victim or community has being protected from further harm while preventing the need for unnecessary or inappropriate detention in police custody or prison custody.
Child Protection Article
The former Independent Chair for the LSCB has written an article about the challenges facing safeguarding children services.