Subscribe now for just £20 per year


RUI arrangements will still be retained for "exceptional cases"

Home Office and MoJ also explain details of "modest reset" of police public order powers.

Home Secretary Priti Patel

Home Secretary Priti Patel

Date - 18th May 2021
By - Gary Mason
7 Comments 7 Comments}

The discredited released under investigation (RUI) arrangements cannot be scrapped altogether because there are a few, limited circumstances in which they will still be the best option for police forces according to the Home Office.

The Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill will give the College of Policing new statutory powers to issue guidance on pre-charge bail which the Bill will enshrine as the preferred option in most cases. The Home Office says it will work with the College “to consider how best to set out the exceptional circumstances in which RUI may be appropriate and ensure a robust process which greatly limits the cases of RUI.”

Sir David Amess, Conservative MP for Southend West raised concerns in the Commons that (RUI) was not included in the Bill.

In a letter to opposition MPs Home Secretary Priti Patel and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said they share his concerns around the increased use of RUI following the 2017 reforms and the impact this has had on both suspects and victims.

“There is agreement across the board that this process is not fit for purpose and should not be used where it is clear that either bail or no further action would be more appropriate in all the circumstances,” they say.

But they also point out RUI is a non-legislative process and following legal advice, “it has become clear that we cannot do away with the process altogether.”

The Home Office says it will be monitoring forces closely with an enhanced data collection on pre-charge bail in the future, which will include figures on RUI usage.

Meanwhile, introducing the fourth day of the debate on the Queen’s Speech on Monday, Priti Patel said the public order elements of the new legislation will be a “modest reset” of police powers.

She said: “In recent years we have seen some protesters and groups use increasingly disruptive tactics. These are a drain on the public purse and results in police forces having to move officers away from their regular responsibilities”

Labour MPs have claimed that clauses 54, 55, and 60 in the Bill would ban protests which are noisy, but the Home Office and Ministry of Justice have denied this.

They say the police will only be able to impose conditions on unjustifiably noisy protests that cause harm to others or prevent an organisation from operating and this threshold will be  “appropriately high”.

MPs have also raised concerns that clause 59 of the Bill would criminalise protests which are “annoying”.

Ms Patel and Mr Buckland responded to this concern in their letter. “This is consistent with the existing common law offence of public nuisance and does not connote merely feeling annoyed. The term 'annoyance' has been applied to allowing a field to be used for holding an all-night rave; conspiring to switch off the floodlights at a football match so as to cause it to be abandoned; and noise, dirt, fumes, noxious smells and vibrations. The clause has been drafted in line with the Law Commission’s recommendations and in doing so we have reduced the scope of offence.”

They say this has been achieved by increasing the fault element from negligence to intention or recklessness; reducing the maximum custodial sentence to 10-years; and including the caveat of “serious” to the harms.

Mick Whitley MP also raised concerns that the provisions in clause 57, seeking to secure vehicle access to the Parliamentary estate, amounted to the creation of an exclusion zone from which demonstrations would be banned.

In response the ministers wrote that Clause 57 does not create a buffer zone, nor does it restrict people’s right to protest in the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster.

Instead they say the powers will enable a police officer to direct an individual to cease, or not begin, obstructing vehicles entering or exiting the Parliamentary Estate and make it an offence not to comply with such a direction. Those who wish to protest outside Parliament can continue to do so but when instructed by a police officer will have to allow the passage of a vehicle into or out of Parliament.

Do you have an interesting news story? Contact the newsdesk on 0203 119 3303
or alternatively get in touch via the contact form.

Categories and Tags

Police Oracle welcomes readers’ comments but please keep them concise if possible. Personally abusive comments directed at named individuals and posted anonymously are not welcome. The editor reserves the right to block and delete any comments that fall into this category.


Ordered by:
Tangi - Thu, 20 May 2021

Retired brief. No I want to live in a world with justice. You just described an abuse of the law by people who should be enforcing it.