A report has raised concerns over the practice of releasing suspects under investigation, as opposed to releasing them on pre-charge bail. In particular, it was found that RUI cases are often given less priority than bail cases, meaning they are taking longer than they should.
Have you been released under investigation? Contact us now at Ashmans Solicitors for free legal advice. We specialise in criminal defence law and can guide you through the next steps. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Since the Policing and Crime Act 2017 was introduced, police have had the option of releasing suspects under investigation, rather than releasing them on pre-charge bail. This is beneficial for the police, as there are not any time limits – unlike bail, where someone must be charged within 28 days (aside from in exceptional circumstances). This means someone can be released under investigation for weeks, months or even years at a time. This creates a lot of uncertainty, both for the victim and the suspect, as the case will be pending with no end in sight.
The report’s finding
A joint report from the HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services has considered the potential issues relating to RUI. The report uncovered a number of issues with the new system, including that:
- Suspects were being moved from bail to RUI after 28 days without good reason
- RUI cases were being given less priority than bail cases, meaning they are taking longer than they should
- RUI leaves too many victims without the reassurance and protection that bail conditions can provide (because no conditions can be attached to RUI, as with bail)
It was also found that some police forces were not following national guidance which was issued in January 2019. This outlines how police should decide whether a suspect is bailed or released under investigation. Some officers were not even aware of the guidelines. In other places, IT systems had not been updated to allow for the proper recording of suspects who were released under investigation.
The Home Office has since held a public consultation in an attempt to resolve the issues identified in the report. The report itself made several recommendations, including monitoring arrangements to give an accurate picture of the number of suspects who are RUI. It remains to be seen whether the legislation will be amended to account for the current concerns.
Criminal defence lawyers
If you have been released under investigation, contact us now for free legal advice. We can guide you through the next steps, building your defence and representing you in court.
Call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.