Released under Investigation
If you have been interviewed at the police station in relation to an indecent images offence (whether under arrest or as a volunteer) it is very common for the police to then release you under investigation. So what does it mean to be released under investigation?
Being released under investigation means that the police still have investigations to complete (e.g. witnesses to speak to, digital devices to be forensically examined etc.) and you will be notified ‘at some point in the future’ as to the outcome of those investigations and what the police intend to do next.
This may eventually be a further interview under caution, you being charged (meaning you will have to attend court) or being advised that the police have decided to take no further action against you.
Unfortunately there is no time limit as to when the police are required to complete their investigations and make a decision which means that being released under investigation puts individuals in a type of limbo where their lives are put on hold. Such individuals released under investigation are invariably and understandably very concerned and worried as to what is happening so what should you do when you are released under investigation?
Firstly it is crucial that you instruct a specialist sexual offence solicitor as soon as possible in order to do the following:
- Meet with you in the office to take a detailed statement from you before memories start to fade. It may be months before the police make a decision (sometimes in excess of a year!) and it is crucial that your solicitor does not wait to take your detailed instructions and should advise you on the steps that need to be taken at an early stage to prepare your defence and / or mitigation. This is particularly important in indecent images cases where (in guilty plea cases) we will need to show the court that you have ‘taken steps to address your offending behaviour’. So early advice in relation to appropriate courses and / or counselling is vital.
- Your solicitor should contact the police and advise that you are represented to ensure that you do not engage in any ‘informal chats’ with the police while you are released under investigation. Nothing you say to the police is ‘off the record’ so it is vital that you should have a solicitor to act as a buffer between you and the police and ensure that you do not say anything to the police while you are released under investigation which potentially could be unhelpful!
- You solicitor should also be regularly chasing the police for updates and making representations for the return of property (e.g. phones, computers etc) where appropriate.
- Finally your solicitor should attend any further interviews with you and make representations and arrangements with the police to attend any future interviews with you as a volunteer at a mutually convenient time as opposed to you being arrested.
If you have been interviewed with or without a solicitor and then been released under investigation please feel free to contact us 24/7 for a free and confidential chat as to your options.