Skip to main content

Police (Detention and Bail) Act 2011

Government Bill

Originated in the House of Commons, Session 2010-12

Last updated: 20 October 2011 at 17:28

See full passage

Long title

To make provision about the calculation of certain periods of time for the purposes of Part 4 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.


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.

Sponsoring departments

Home Office
Mrs Theresa May
Conservative, Maidenhead
Home Office
Baroness Browning
Conservative, Life peer

Current version of the Bill

Police (Detention and Bail) Act 2011 c.9
13 July 2011

Bill passage

Bill started in the House of Commons
1st reading
2nd reading
Committee stage
Report stage
3rd reading
Bill in the House of Lords
1st reading
2nd reading
Committee stage
Report stage
3rd reading
Final stages
Consideration of amendments
Royal Assent
In progress
Not applicable
Not yet reached