§ Mr. Maples
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has received a report on the pilot bail information schemes set up in 1987.
§ Mr. Hurd
The Vera Institute of Justice has today published its report on eight pilot bail information schemes which were established during 1987 under the auspices of the Association of Chief Officers of Probation. The object of these schemes is to provide the Crown Prosecution Service with verified information about defendants, for example, on accommodation or community ties, which is relevant to the decision on whether to oppose bail.
The report shows that the schemes enabled the Crown Prosecution Service to take better informed decisions on whether to oppose bail or not. This in turn enabled the courts in the pilot areas to make more use of bail, without any increase in the failure rate of those on bail.
I am now urgently considering how best we can build on the experience of these schemes in co-operation with the courts, the Crown Prosecution Service, the police and probation service.
Copies of the report have been placed in the Library.