Pre-charge bail and released under investigation: striking a balance

Between October 2019 and February 2020, we inspected the police and Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS) responses to pre-charge bail changes and the use of released under investigation (RUI).

Police powers to release suspects on bail changed with the enactment of the Policing and Crime Act 2017. Before then, there was no limit to the amount of time bail could apply. But in April 2017, the new legislation significantly changed how bail could be used.

This was a joint thematic inspection led by HMICFRS and supported by Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate.

The inspection assessed:

  • the effectiveness of leadership and governance in supporting the implementation of the legislation on pre-charge bail/RUI;
  • the effectiveness of police forces in identifying and managing the vulnerability and risk associated with victims of crime where the suspect has been RUI;
  • the effectiveness of police forces and the CPS in prosecuting cases where pre-charge bail/RUI is used;
  • the impact of pre-charge bail/RUI on the timescales of the justice process from investigation to conclusion;
  • the effectiveness of understanding at a strategic level of the use of pre-charge bail/RUI; and
  • good practice and areas for improvement.

This report sets out our findings and makes a series of recommendations aimed at improving police and CPS practice and making victims and communities safer.

Alongside our inspection, we commissioned research from BritainThinks to explore victims’ and suspects’ experiences of the changes to bail and RUI. Some of the quotes used in this report are from people who participated in this research and include victims of crime. We are grateful to them and to those who supported them.

Read the inspection report

Pre-charge bail and released under investigation: striking a balance (PDF document, 445 kB)

Read the BritainThinks research report

Research into victim and suspect experiences of changes to the Police and Crime Act 2017

Get the press release

Further changes to bail legislation must consider victim’s needs

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Pre-charge bail and released under investigation