Understanding Reasons for Extended Police Bail

Prison Info

When you, or someone you know, is arrested in the UK, there are several likely outcomes. One of the possibilities is being released on police bail while the investigation continues. However, sometimes, this bail can be extended for what may seem like an unusual amount of time. On this page, we aim to provide some understanding around extended police bail and the reasons behind it.

What is Police Bail?

Police bail is when someone who has been arrested is released from custody, usually under certain conditions, while investigations continue. Police bail can be set for various lengths of time, and in some cases, it can be extended. The decision is usually based on numerous factors, including the complexity of the investigation, potential risks, among other things.

Reasons for Extended Police Bail

Here are some typical reasons that could result in extended police bail:

  • Complex investigations: If an investigation is multifaceted, requiring evidence to be gathered from various places or waiting for expert forensic reports, this can lead to an extended bail period.
  • Potential risks: If the police believe there is a risk of the defendant absconding, interfering with witnesses or evidence, or posing a danger to the public, they may choose to keep the suspect on bail longer.
  • Other legal proceedings: If the defendant is involved in other court cases simultaneously, the police may choose to extend bail until these other cases are resolved.
  • Administrative delays: Sometimes, various administrative issues can increase the length of time a person is on bail. These could include everything from staff shortages to delays in receiving reports or witness statements.

The Legal Side of Extended Police Bail

In the UK, the law around police bail has undergone significant changes in recent years. The Policing and Crime Act 2017 introduced a 28-day limit on pre-charge bail. This means that suspects released on bail shouldn’t spend more than 28 days before being charged or released without charge. However, this period can be extended.

An extension can be granted by a superintendent if the police can provide good reason, up to three months. Beyond three months, an application must be made to the courts, where it will be granted if it is deemed necessary and proportionate.

How Can I Challenge Extended Police Bail?

If you or someone you know is under extended police bail, there are several routes to challenge this.

  • Legal representation: It is always advisable to engage a solicitor if you are facing extended police bail. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action and potentially challenge the bail conditions.
  • Judicial review: If you believe the decision to extend bail is unfair, a judicial review can be sought. This is where a judge examines the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body, in this case, the police.


While extended police bail can be distressing and frustrating, it is vital to remember that it is not an indication of guilt. It is merely a tool used by the police to ensure they have sufficient time to gather all necessary evidence before making a charging decision. If you are facing police bail or it’s extension, seeking support and advice from a legal professional is highly recommended.

Resources for Further Reading

If you want to delve deeper into the complexities of UK police bail and its extension, the following list provides useful resources:

  1. Policing and Crime Act 2017
  2. Citizens Advice on Judicial Review

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