As a result of the introduction of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 the police can no longer release someone on bail for longer than 28 days, unless this has been lawfully extended. The police now regularly release individuals suspected of committing a criminal offence under investigation, which does not mean they are on police bail.
If you are released on bail, the police must provide a specified date and time for you to return to the police station. This was known as being ‘bailed to return’. In this instance, the investigation would be progressing and you could expect that a decision would be made by the date you were required to return to the police station.
Before April 2017, those suspected of committing a criminal offence often found themselves on bail for many months and sometimes years, being given repeated bail to return dates with no real evidence that progress in the investigation had been made.
The Policing and Crime Act 2017 was introduced, which came into force in April 2017. This Act brought changes to the way the police were required to deal with suspects who have been arrested where there is a need for further investigation.
The Act sets out certain time limits for the police to carry out investigations, and it is as a result of these time limits that the police now often circumvent the legislation by releasing suspects under investigation rather than releasing them on police bail.
What does it mean to be released without bail?
If an individual is released under these circumstances, they will have been given a notice which tells them information such as: ‘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 such as witness intimidation and it will tell the recipient that they could face up to 5 years in prison or alternatively commit the offence of perverting the course of justice, in which case they could face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Suspects can find their lives somewhat on hold, not knowing what is happening, when property is going to be returned, when they can speak to loved ones and family members who are connected to the investigation (directly or indirectly) and most importantly of when they can return back to normal life, hopefully with the matter behind them. During this difficult time, it is important not to simply live in hope that the police will be carrying out an effective and timely investigation. It is important to instruct lawyers who will be in very regular contact with the police to keep you updated as to what is happening, to ensure that they are making progress and to question the need to retain the personal belongings of suspects such as mobile phones, computers, cars and the like. This is how MTG Solicitors approach such cases.
Conclusion of enquiries
Following the conclusion of the enquiries, 1 of the following decisions can be made on the matter –
1. No further action
The Police may decide to take no further action against you. No Further Action (NFA) in effect means that the Police are not taking any further action against you in respect of the allegations against you. This is a very positive outcome, the effect of which is that you are no longer a suspect and the investigations against you will seize.
The Police may wish to interview you. This is likely to happen where further evidence (including forensic evidence such as the matching of fingerprints or DNA) has been obtained or where you have been picked out following an identification procedure.
3. Postal Requisition
What is a Postal Requisition and what should you do if you receive one? In the field of criminal investigations, Postal Requisitions have become an increasingly utilised method of requiring someone to attend court. A Postal Requisition is effectively a summons; a letter received in the post that requires a person to attend court on a given date and time to answer a charge or series of charges. If the person who receives the Postal Requisition subsequently fails to attend court on the date and time contained in the Requisition, then it is likely that a warrant will be issue for their arrest.
A Postal Requisition often comes about when a person has been interviewed on a voluntary basis at a Police Station, but can happen after a person is formally arrested, detained, interviewed and then released under investigation. In these circumstances, if the decision is taken by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to prosecute, then notification of that decision to any suspect can be sent by way of Postal Requisition. That will be sent to the suspects last known address. It is not uncommon for prior notice to be given of the decision to prosecute by telephone, but often the Postal Requisition will be received by a suspect completely without notice, and often many months after the formal interview under caution.
If you are in receipt of Postal Requisition, contact us on 02087545577 or 07737372766 (during office hours) so that a mutually convenient appointment is made for you to attend us in person and for us to advice you on what needs to be done next to ensure representation at the forthcoming Magistrates Court Hearing.
If the Police had not already taken your fingerprints, DNA and swabs when you were first interviewed, the Police have the power to take your fingerprints, photograph and a sample of your DNA (by way of mouth swab) if you are charged and required to attend Court.
How can we help you?
The changes to the law and procedure with limiting police bail and releasing people under investigation is to try and avoid people being on bail for lengthy periods of time, however the reality is there is also uncertainty about how long you are left under investigation for, as there is no set time limit.
At MTG Solicitors we make sure that we chase the police regularly to make sure that the police are investigating matters expeditiously. If the police wish to interview you then we can be present during the interview to advise and represent you. If the police take the decision to charge you at the end of the investigation we can represent you at Court.
If you require advice or assistance regarding being released under investigation or any other criminal matter then please contact our experienced criminal law defence team at MTG Solicitors on 0208 754 55 77 or 07737372766 (during office hours).
Mr Teagy Singh Grover Solicitor, Head of Crime Department
Ms Amandeep Purewal Paralegal, Crime Department
Tel: 020 8754 5577 | Fax: 020 8561 2800 | Mob: 077 3737 2766 My profile: https://www.mtgsolicitors.com/solicitors/teagy-grover/ Warley Chambers, Warley Road, Hayes, Middlesex, UB4 0PX