If you’re reading this, you have probably had an interview with the police and been “released under investigation”. You probably have no idea what’s going on, haven’t heard from the police in weeks and are confused about the next steps. Sadly, you’re not alone.
Being released under investigation means that the police investigation is still ongoing and that the they will notify you of a decision “at some point in the future”. It doesn’t sound helpful and that’s because it’s not.
Before April 2017, if the police had enquiries to conduct, suspects would be released on “police bail”. This meant they had a date to come back to the police station and would likely be subject to bail conditions. The old system left many people on bail for long periods of time (sometimes years) and caused unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Police bail has now largely been replaced by being ‘released under investigation’. Police bail is usually restricted to those accused of serious crimes (such as very serious violence or sexual offences). The vast majority of suspects are now released under investigation. Unfortunately, the new system hasn’t solved the problem. In many ways, it’s worse. Being released under investigation can still lead to very lengthy police investigations and is often a very stressful and worrying time. Some people find the lack of a future date to work towards difficult.
Being released under investigation creates further problems. In the old days, if the police wanted to charge you with an offence, this would be done at a police station. You would receive a charge sheet with a court date. Those who have been released under investigation have to wait for a letter through the post (sometimes called a “postal requisition”). If you move house, go on holiday or forget to check your mail, you may not receive your postal requisition. This would usually lead to the court issuing a warrant for your arrest. The police could then arrest you in the middle of the night.
If you have been released under investigation, you need to speak to a specialist criminal defence lawyer who can help. At Bhatia Best, we actively chase the police on your behalf and fight your corner. Our representation is free of charge and we do what we can to speed up the investigation and get matters resolved as soon as possible. If you didn’t have a lawyer at the police station or you are not happy with the one that represented you, contact us today – it’s not too late.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: If contacted by the police, what should I do?
A: You should contact us straightaway. You can call us 24 hours a day on 0333 016 3333 to speak to one of our criminal defence solicitors. If you are arrested and taken to a police station, tell the police that you want Bhatia Best to come to the station.
Q: How long will the investigation take?
A: It is very difficult to say how long a police investigation will take. This will depend on the type of offence. Bhatia Best keep in touch with clients under investigation and make regular enquiries of the police to see what is happening in any particular case.
Q: The police took my property – can I get it back?
A: Items should only be seized and retained by the police if they are of evidential relevance to the investigation. Bhatia Best can challenge the police to try and get your property returned immediately, or at the very least when the police have completed any enquiry requiring any item of property to remain in their possession.
Q: What happens when the investigation ends?
A: The police can either charge you with one of more offences (which will result in you getting a postal requisition), or alternatively write to you to confirm they are taking no further action. This is something Bhatia Best can help chase the Police about.