When accused persons are interviewed at the police station they can be released no further action, bailed for further enquiries to be made, released under investigation or charged and bailed or remanded.

Until the recent cases when celebrities spent months and years on bail, most people were bailed for enquiries to be made.  This meant that they knew who was dealing with their case and when they needed to return to the police station.  The bail date could be extended without limit, but again a date was known.

There were complaints that people were being placed on bail for a long time without knowing what was happening with their case.  It then was decided that only the accused in certain cases should be bailed and that the bail period should only be for a short period of time, up to 28 days.  An extension can be granted by a senior police officer of up to 3 months. If further time is still required for further enquiries to be made an application can be made to the Court.

At the present time the majority of people being interviewed are being released under investigation, which means that they do not have to return to the police station, but they have to await a letter through the post as to what is happening.  For the least serious “summary” cases there is a 6 month limit for proceedings to begin.

For other offences, those which are “either way” or “indictable”, then there is no date by which proceedings must begin.  This means that proceedings are being started after very lengthy delays.  The courts are seeing delays of, easily, 18 to 24 months.

During the time that people are waiting for a letter confirming the outcome of the investigation they may move address in which case they do not know that they are supposed to attend Court, causing a rise in warrants being issued and people being arrested when they had no idea that they were due at Court.

Where a person is released under investigation pending a decision from the Prosecution as to whether to charge there is no limit as to how long they can be bailed for.

Is this really a better system?

If you need any help or assistance on this or any other criminal matter please do not hesitate to contact our crime department on 0116 262 8596 or crime@dodds-solicitors.co.uk

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