Release Under Investigation – What Does It Mean?

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Release Under Investigation – What Does It Mean?

New Rules Related to Pre-Charge Bail Have Been Extended

In April 2017 new provisions relating to pre-charge bail were introduced. These have now been extended in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022. The idea was that suspects were not left waiting around for months on end whilst the police carried out their investigations.


What Do the New Rules Mean?

The new rules allow Custody Officers, who are independent of investigations, to be able to authorise the first period of pre-charge bail to a period of three months in standard police cases. Further extensions in these cases will require approval from an officer of the rank of Inspector or above to six months, and a Superintendent or above will need to authorise any extension to nine months. Judicial approval will then be sought to extend beyond nine months.


Why Have the New Rules Been Introduced?

Anyone working in the criminal justice system will tell you that the idea of getting anything completed within a short time frame is extremely difficult.

The police who, are massively stretched in terms of resources are struggling, to conduct full and proper investigations into serious allegations. The analysis of most evidence (DNA, phones, computers etc) seems to take at least 6 weeks and can take as long as 6 months! As a result, the unintended by-product is ‘released under investigation’.

This is a way around bail for the police as suspects are released from police custody following an interview and told they will be contacted via post with the final result i.e., whether they will be charged, or no further action taken. This means the police don’t have to worry about their bail limits or applications to the court etc and, unless the arrest is for a summary-only offence, have seemingly unlimited time to prepare a case against you.


What Is the Potential Effect of the New Rules?

The fact of the matter is the new bail rules have done nothing to speed up police investigations. They have probably only served to cause further upset and anguish for people who flinch every time the postman calls and disrupts court proceedings (the solicitor who is meant to be at court for them is very often not told about any charges or court dates!


Bell Lamb & Joynson

If you have been released under investigation by the police, it is vitally important that you keep in touch with your legal representative. They can provide a ‘middle man’ between you and the police and will be able to give you more reliable answers than the police about the likelihood of facing court proceedings etc.

Many solicitors offer 24hr emergency assistance and, in most circumstances are free. The team at Bell Lamb and Joynson are available 24/7 for all clients.

If you are currently released under investigation for an offence or have been told the police will ‘be in touch following a voluntary interview then please contact our criminal department on 03444 124348 or enquire via our online chat function at