Over the years, a combination of both significant cuts in police resources and the reporting of a number of high profile arrests have attracted much adverse publicity to the way in which the police investigate suspects. It gradually became an ever-increasing concern for suspects that they found themselves on bail for many months and sometimes years, being given repeated bail to return dates and with no real evidence that progress in the investigation had been made.
Something had to be done. That something came in the form of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 which came in to force on the 3rd April 2017. This Act brought in changes to the way the Police deal with suspects who have been arrested and where there is a need further investigation. The Act sets out certain time limits for the police to carry out investigations, and it is because of these time limits that the police have tried to circumvent the legislation by releasing suspects under investigation rather than releasing them on formal police bail (see article on the changes to police bail).