The father of a Lancashire nurse murdered by her abusive ex-partner has called for more protection for victims after changes to police bail saw thousands of suspects in violent and sexual cases released without conditions.
New figures showed more than 3,000 people were released under investigation – rather than bailed, which includes conditions they must stick to – for offences including murder and rape by 12 forces over a three-month period.
Jane Clough, who worked at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, was stabbed to death in 2010 by Jonathan Vass while he was on bail for nine charges of rape and assault.
Her dad John said: “That they are releasing people without any conditions at all for violent and sexual crimes is frightening.
“There is no protection for the victims and no public protection. You don’t know what these people are capable of.
“The offenders rights are placed over and above the victims.
“Looking at what happened to Jane, being murdered by somebody who was out on bail charged with significant crimes against her, it’s heartbreaking to know that other people are living with that same fear over them.
Figures released to the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act, covering April to June 2017, found those released under investigation included 1,692 people arrested for violent crimes, 768 rape suspects and 31 questioned on suspicion of murder. Lancashire Police was not one of the 12 forces to provide the figures.
The Home Office said it had asked forces to review their use of bail.
It comes after a 28-day limit on pre-charge bail came into effect in April last year, as part of a Government shake-up aimed at ending the ‘injustice’ of individuals being kept under a cloud of suspicion for very long periods of time.
The new measures also meant bail could only be used when deemed ‘necessary and proportionate’.
Suspects who are released under investigation are still subject to police inquiries but are not subject to bail conditions.
A Home Office spokesman said: “Reforms to pre-charge bail balance carefully the interests of victims and witnesses, those on bail and the police.
“Pre-charge bail, including conditions, continues to be available where it is necessary and proportionate, such as to protect victims and witnesses, while the reforms should also reduce the possible negative impact on individuals on bail, such as mental trauma and financial implications.”