Released Under Investigation - What Does It Mean?

Since the 3rd April 2017 when the Policing & Crime Act 2017 came into force, most people arrested by the police and interviewed as a suspect under caution are then ‘Released Under Investigation’ (RUI).

You may be one of the many thousands of suspects who in the last year have been left in a permanent ‘state of limbo’, with the stresses and anxieties of not knowing what is going on in your case. Maybe you did not request the services of a specialist criminal defence solicitor who could have explained to you the long drawn out investigation processes.

What does RUI mean exactly?

Effectively it means that the police investigation is still ongoing and that you will be notified later on of the outcome of the investigation. This can be weeks, months, or sadly there are suspects who are still waiting over twelve months on and counting.

The changes to bail were brought in following adverse publicity in the media where some suspects had spent months or years subject to bail and bail conditions. For the first time the changes placed limits on how long people could spend on bail. The new system of bail that was brought in is mostly unworkable and too complex. The police have worked around this by no longer releasing many suspects on bail, but mostly releasing suspects under investigation.

It was originally meant to curtail suspects having to physically return to the police station on bail every four to eight weeks, taking time off work etc, only to be re-bailed yet again in what felt like a never ending cycle.

What is the effect of being released under investigation?

Suspects may find their lives on hold (studies/career), the stresses of not knowing what is happening with their case? when will seized property will be returned by police?, in some cases when they can speak to family members who are involved in the investigation? and the biggest question of all, when they can get their life back to normal and put the investigation behind them.

Being ‘released under investigation’ can be a difficult time regardless of whether they are innocent or guilty of the accusation. It is important that your solicitor keeps in regular contact with the police to keep you updated as to the progress in the case and a rough timeframe when a decision might likely be reached. If any property is no longer required for the investigation, we can find out whether that can be released back to you. Some items such as mobile phones and computers require third parties to forensically examine them to determine the relevance to the investigation, and this can take an extended period of time, especially in complex and serious cases.

If you have been released under investigation there are several steps that you can take. Firstly if you did not have the services of a solicitor when you were originally interviewed then you can instruct a solicitor. They may be able to make regular contact with the police to chase the status and progress of your case.

Our team at Burton Copeland will try to enquire as to whether any further interviews are required at this stage and will be able to attend the police station with you at an agreed time with you for the interview. We will obtain information on the day about the new matters so that we can have a private consultation to discuss them before any re-interview takes place.

What happens next if I am released under investigation?

Besides being re-interviewed at some point, you may be charged or summonsed for the offences or notified by the police that ‘no further action’ is being taken. If being charged, you may also be invited back to the police station to be charged in person, and/or for your fingerprints/photograph/DNA to be taken if the police haven’t already done so.

What is the difference between being released on bail and released under investigation?

First, if you have been RUI you are NOT on bail, and therefore cannot be subject to any bail conditions. However you must be careful as any inappropriate contact with the complainants/witnesses could constitute criminal offences of perverting the course of justice and/or witness intimidation. Social services in some cases may impose restrictions of their own, but they aren’t imposed directly by the police.

What should I do now?

With any criminal investigation it is important to instruct high quality legal representation from the outset. If you haven’t already instructed a criminal solicitor, you can call us 24 hours a day on 01618279500. Our criminal solicitors will be happy to help. For anyone arrested and taken to the police station, you need not instruct us in advance, you can ask the custody sergeant to call Burton Copeland Solicitors.