Released Under Investigation

After being interviewed by the police under caution, you may have been informed that you are to be “released under investigation”. That means that you have been released from custody without charge with no obligation to return on bail for the offence; however, the investigation will remain ongoing, and you will be notified of the outcome of the investigation in due course.

This option of being released under investigation is being used less by the police following Schedule 4 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, the law will from now on encourage the Police to place individuals under pre-charge bail in “every case where it is necessary and appropriate,” as opposed to releasing them under investigation (RUI). This will be achieved by removing the perceived presumption against using pre-charge bail that has existed in the law up until this time.

You can instruct us on a private basis if you wish us to give you a more detailed opinion on your case or to write to the police asking them to take no further action against you and to drop the case. These written arguments can make a difference to the route the police take. You may or may not have had the best advice to comment or not at the police station. Your circumstances may have changed or you may be aware of new evidence.

We can write to the police to ask the charges are dropped. We can ask for a police caution or we can make written representations for you which can be sent by the police to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) which can set out your case known as " written representations".

During your time released under investigation, your representative from JD Spicer Zeb Solicitors may be in contact with the police as necessary to keep you updated as to what is happening. We will need to ensure that the police are making progress and to question the need to retain any belongings that have been seized. The police are not always available to answer our enquiries and you must keep us informed if you are contacted by them.

There may be a need for the police to speak to you again. In some circumstances, the police may contact you and make an appointment for you to go to the police station to have another interview.

For a free initial consultation on your legal position and the available options, contact our local offices in LondonBirmingham or Manchester.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the police should notify you of the outcome. The police do not always contact us with an outcome so please call us 020 7624 7771 to inform us of the outcome. You will either receive a postal requisition or a summons to attend the Magistrates’ Court or correspondence to say that no further action (NFA) will be taken in respect of the matter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why have I been released under investigation?

If you have been released pending investigation, this will most likely be because the police need to make further enquiries in regards to the investigation. Before they can present the case to the Crown Prosecution Service, they have to fully investigate the matter and make sure all lines of enquiry have been explored.

Examples of cases where you may be released under investigation by the police include:

  • In a theft from shop case, the police may need further time to seize CCTV footage and take witness statements from independent witnesses
  • In a complex fraud matter, the police may need further time to interrogate electronic evidence such as laptops, hard-drives and mobile phone devices.
  • In complex drugs matters, the police may need to send the drugs to an expert for analysis and interrogate mobile telephone devices that have been seized.

This is by no means exhaustive. The circumstances of your individual case will ultimately dictate whether you are released under investigation by the police.

I have been released under investigation, what does this mean?

Once you are ‘released under investigation’ you are not subject to police bail. At this stage there is no requirement for you to attend a police station again. There is no set time for a decision to be made.

The police have the following options:

  1. You may be required to attend again for interview
  2. You might be charged or summonsed to attend court
  3. No further action will be taken.

What happens when you are under investigation?

You will have been given a notice when released from the police station which sets out some further guidance on what it means to be released under investigation.  This information will include any released under investigation conditions you will be subject to –

  • “inappropriate contact with anyone linked to your case, either directly or indirectly, through a third party or social media, may constitute a criminal offence”
  • The notice will mention serious criminal offences of witness intimidation (for which you could face up to 5 years in prison) or perverting the course of justice, (in which case you could face up to life imprisonment).

If contacted by the police, what should I do?

You should contact us immediately. You can call us 24 hours a day on 078 3657 7566 and speak to one of our specialist criminal defence solicitors. Please speak to one of our specialists before you agree to speak to the police. Remember, you have a right to free and independent legal advice.

How long will the investigation take?

It is very difficult to provide a time-scale as to how long a police investigation will take. This will depend on the type of case and how complex the matter is. If you have any concerns, our solicitors are available 24 hours a day on 078 3657 7556 if you wish to speak to us.

In a routine or less serious case you should expect to hear form the police within 2 to 3 months but in more complicated cases where the police need to obtain statements, forensic evidence, CCTV or expert reports to prosecute you then this could take several months.

The time it takes to complete an investigation, and how long you will therefore be released under investigation but not charged really depends on the scale of the alleged crime. In routine theft or assault cases it is likely that you will hear from the police quickly but in complicated credit card frauds or alleged drugs cases you may not hear back from the police for a long period.

Sometimes officers are assigned to more serious cases and less serious cases can be left by the police until time is found to chase matters up. It is not always in your interest to chase the officer for a result.

The police have seized my property; can I get this back?

Items that have been seized as part of the investigation should be returned to you if they no longer require them as part of this matter. We can help you to contact the police to make enquiries in this regard to get updates in regards to the progress of your case and whether certain items can be returned or not.

What happens when the investigation ends?

The police will inform you of the outcome. You will either receive a postal requisition or a summons to attend the Magistrates’ Court or correspondence to say that no further action (NFA) will be taken in respect of the matter. As soon as you receive any notification please contact us on 07836577566, we are available 24 hours a day.

I would like JD Spicer Zeb to represent me, however I had another solicitor for my initial interview. What can I do?

If you wish to change your legal representation or if you did not have legal representation at the first interview, you can instruct us to act for you. Please contact us on 0207 624 7771 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our specialist defence solicitors.

Can I travel abroad if I have been released under investigation?

There is no restriction for you travelling abroad if you have been released under investigation. However, this means the police will not be able to contact you whilst you are away which may cause a problem if you are away for a long period. We can make contact with the officer in the case and inform them to contact us directly as you will be out of the country for a short period. You can speak to one of our top criminal defence solicitors now by calling 078 3657 7556.

How long can you be released under investigation?

Technically, you can be released under investigation but not charged for an indefinite period of time. This means that there are no released under investigation time limits that you will be subject to.

Only when an investigation concludes will you no longer be released under investigation.

What is the difference between bail and released under investigation?

There is often some confusion regarding the differences between being released on pre-charge bail (often simply referred to as being released on bail) and being released under investigation.

If someone is released on pre-charge bail, the police will continue their investigation to gather more evidence before making a final charging decision. Unlike being released under investigation rules in the UK, if someone is released on bail, they may be subject to specific bail conditions.

The other primary difference between pre-charge bail and being released under investigation rules in the UK are the relevant time limits. While there are no released under investigation time limits in place, pre-charge bail can initially only last for three months. The police can then authorise extensions for up to nine months. Court approval will be required to extend pre-charge bail beyond this.

Does being released under investigation show up on a standard DBS check?

Released under investigation criminal records will not show on a standard DBS check. Pending cases and allegations will not be on your criminal record until a charging decision is made, whether that is a caution, conviction or reprimand.

Being arrested, released under investigation and not charged may show up on an enhanced DBS check, as it may fall under ‘all other information held’.

What changes were made to being released under investigation in 2022?

Released under investigation procedures were updated at the end of 2022 when Schedule 4 of the Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 came into effect. 

The changes focused on increasing the use of pre-charge bail, as opposed to released under investigation in “every case where it is necessary and appropriate”.

This was in direct response to The Policing and Crime Act 2017, which brought about a presumption against using pre-charge bail unless it was necessary and proportionate. This meant that there was a sharp increase in the number of people being released under investigation.

Contact our criminal defence lawyers today

If you have been released under investigation and are unsure what steps to take next, please do not hesitate to get in touch for a free initial consultation or urgent specialist advice.

To discuss released under investigation legislation further, you can contact our dedicated criminal defence lawyers in LondonBirmingham or Manchester by telephone on:

Or email:

Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

  • Umar Zeb
      • Umar Zeb
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