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Bail Conditions

Volume 400: debated on Wednesday 26 February 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offenders broke the terms of their bail conditions last year and were not recaptured; and what action he is taking to reduce this number. [96007]

In 2001, about 77,700 people who had been bailed to appear at court failed to do so, representing 13 per cent. of defendants at magistrates' courts and 10 per cent. of Crown Court defendants (13 per cent. overall). Figures are not available for what proportion of those failing to appear were subsequently re-arrested and brought back to court, or how many defendants broke the terms of bail conditions.The Government is working with criminal justice agencies to reduce the number of defendants who fail to surrender to bail and to ensure that failure to surrender is dealt with robustly by the prosecution, the courts and the police. In particular we are examining what more can be done to ensure effective enforcement of bench warrants.It is important that bail should be used appropriately, and the Government keeps the legislation relating to bail under review in order to ensure that it does everything possible to ensure this. The Criminal Justice Bill now before Parliament makes several changes, including extending the prosecution's right to appeal against a decision by magistrates to grant bail.