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Police bail or Released Under Investigation – What’s the Difference?


Police Bail

Up until a few years ago, the majority of people who were interviewed by the police were arrested and if not charged or no action taken, released on police bail. Unfortunately, people ended up on police bail for long periods of time.

In England, police bail refers to a process where individuals who have been arrested or are under investigation by the police are released from custody, either with certain conditions and obligations to adhere to while the investigation is ongoing, or unconditionally. When someone is on police bail, they may be required to comply with specific instructions set by the police, such as regularly reporting to a police station, surrendering their passport, or refraining from contacting certain individuals.

The purpose of police bail is to allow the police to continue their investigation while the individual is not held in custody. It provides a way for the police to monitor and control the actions of the person being investigated, ensuring that they do not interfere with the investigation or pose a risk to the public.

Decision to grant police bail

The decision to grant police bail and the conditions imposed depend on various factors, including the seriousness of the alleged offense, the individual’s criminal history, and the likelihood of them failing to appear for further questioning or court appearances. In some cases, the police may impose strict bail conditions, while in others, the conditions may be less stringent, or there may be no conditions placed.

A 28-day time limit for police bail, introduced through the Policing and Crime Act 2017, came into force in April 2017. This meant that the police had a problem as often the investigations would not have concluded by 28 days.

In 2022 there was another change to the legislation and the 28-day bail period was increased to 3 months. Standard bail can then be increased to 6 months and then 9 months by a Superintendent.

What does Released Under Investigation mean?

In England, the term “released under investigation” refers to a status given to individuals who have been arrested or are under suspicion of committing a criminal offense but have not been charged with a specific crime. When someone is released under investigation, it means that they are no longer held in police custody but are still under investigation by law enforcement authorities.

Prior to the introduction of this status, individuals would often be released on bail while the investigation continued. However, reforms in 2017 led to the introduction of the “released under investigation” status as an alternative to pre-charge bail.
Due to the changes in legislation in 2017, reducing the amount of time that people could be held on bail, being RUI’d became the default status for defendants.

Not subject to bail conditions

When someone is released under investigation, they are not required to adhere to any specific bail conditions, such as regular reporting to a police station. However, they can still be contacted by the police for further questioning or investigation at any time.

It is important to note that being released under investigation does not mean that the individual is cleared of any wrongdoing. The investigation continues, and the authorities may decide to either charge the person with a crime or take no further action based on the evidence gathered. The length of time for which someone can be released under investigation varies depending on the complexity of the case and the progress of the investigation.

Stress & Anxiety

If you are suspected of a criminal offence, you may be interviewed but not told of the outcome until some unspecified date in the future. You could be Released Under Investigation (RUI) This effectively means that there are no time limits for how long the case can take to investigate your case.
Suspects are left dangling. They are not updated, have no idea if and when a postal requisition will arrive, and this leads to stress and anxiety.

How can we help?

If you have been RUI’d or police bailed, then contact us, we will do our best to get an update from the officer in the case. We can liaise with the police on your behalf and advise you as to procedure. This service is free.

Even if you had a different firm at the interview stage or no solicitor at all, we can still provide you with advice.

Our practice is based in Merseyside but we regularly travel to police stations nationwide as seen on TV. Good criminal lawyers have to travel to where their clients are and so this has never been an issue for us as a firm.

If you have been RUI’d and want FREE and EXPERT advice please call our criminal defence team on 0151 480 5777 or visit the website to find out more about our services. Areas we cover include Huyton, Liverpool, Merseyside, North West, North Wales, Cheshire, Lancashire.

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