The police treat rape and sexual abuse very seriously and will seek to identify the offender as soon as possible. In most cases, contrary to popular myth, the offender is already known to the victim. The police will want to arrest the suspect in order that they can protect the victim and others from further harm from the suspect and to secure any forensic evidence from that person, and search their dwelling place for evidence relating to the offence.
Under the Policing and Crime Act of 2017 from 3 April 2017 there is now a presumption that prior to charge arrested persons will not be bailed unless it is considered by an Inspector or above that it is both necessary and proportionate to do so. Any bail will be for a maximum of 28 days under that authority which can be extended by a further two months on the authority of a superintendent who must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to suppose the suspect is guilty of the offence, that the investigation is being conducted diligently and that bail is still necessary and proportionate taking into account what has been established by the investigation to date.
Bail can only be extended past three months on the authority of a magistrate.
Bail conditions can still be imposed but on the same basis, ie that they are necessary and proportionate.
Where large amounts of material require analysis the Act allows for further arrest to extend bail.
Offences such as witness intimidation or harassment will remain as tools to protect victims.
Bail and bail conditions are likely to be seen as necessary and proportionate in cases involving serious sexual assault.
Post-charge bail is not affected by the new law.