Release under investigation and pre-charge bail

We're calling on the government to improve the law on pre-charge bail and release under investigation.

The issue

Release under investigation (RUI) is used by the police instead of bail – but unlike pre-charge bail it has no time limits or conditions. This can leave the accused and alleged victims in limbo with no updates on their case for an unlimited time.

There also is evidence that there are people being released under investigation who are potentially a risk to alleged victims of crime and the public in general, rather than being put on pre-charge bail as would be more appropriate.

Release under investigation

For example:

An individual was arrested for rape and placed under bail. He was accused of a further sexual offence against the same complainant, but was then released under investigation for the original rape accusation due to bail not being extended. This meant he was released with no conditions.

Progress so far

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act makes a number of changes to pre-charge bail and the use of RUI, including:

  • removing the statutory presumption to release without bail
  • adjusting timescales and authorisation levels for pre-charge bail
  • including alleged victims in the pre-charge bail process, so they are kept informed and can give their views where appropriate

Campaign highlights

Maximise your Law Society membership with My LS