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Person Has Been Charged, Can Police Continue Investigation?

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 29 Jun 2020 | comments*Discuss
Police Charge Prosecution Criminal


Once the police have issued charges against people in a case - can they then continue their investigations?

For example, after charges have been made can they then proceed to go and visit possible witnesses for statements relating to the people that have been charged and the charges?

(Mr Neil Lock, 19 December 2008)


Whether the police continue to investigate a crime will generally depend on the crime itself. Relatively minor offences such as defacing a building with graffiti or shoplifting won’t normally be investigated further. This is because the police will have all the evidence they need to prosecute at the time the formal charge is made to the accused.

You are right that the law did state that suspects that had been charged could no longer be questioned, but this has now been a change in the law that enables the police to question a suspect after they have been charged. This is to allow the police to continue their detailed investigations even after the suspect’s trial has begun. It is not unheard of for a trial to be stopped because the police have uncovered new evidence. The police continue to investigate, as it is always a possibility they are prosecuting an innocent person.

More serious crimes such as murder or rape for instance will often be investigated right up until the trial begins. Under UK law, a suspect has to be charged within a certain time limit. At the moment you could be held for only up to 28 days before the police would have to charge you. With complex criminal cases it is often the case that a suspect has to be charged before the police have completed their full investigation as they have run out of time to charge a suspect.

Generally, an investigation will continue until the police have gathered all the evidence they think they will need to ensure a conviction. Even after a suspect has been charged, the police may have to wait for accomplices to be caught, or witnesses to be located. In assault cases the police may have to wait for the victim to recover before they can give their evidence. This could be longer than 28 days, so the police have no choice but to charge their suspect or risk the suspect absconding.

You should also be aware that the police often do not completely close a case file that they have been working on. Cold cases as they are called are crimes that the police were unable to obtain enough evidence to secure a conviction at the time of the crime being committed.

With advances in DNA technology, a cold case will often be re-investigated as the police now feel they have the tools to gain enough evidence for a conviction. The recent Rachel Nickell murder conviction was obtained as DNA technology had progressed to the point where Robert Napper could be positively identified as the killer.

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My partner got arrested after we had an arguement the neighbours called the police...he had commited some criminal damage inside the home but i havent pressed charges, its the third time the police have been called for what they call domestic violence, there was some pushing on both sides, he has to go back in 20 days time to answer bail can he still be charged and sent to jail
Lol - 29-Jun-20 @ 7:47 AM
@Ga Much depends upon whether the CPS has enough evidence to charge your ex without your statement if withdrawn.
MattD - 18-Jun-18 @ 11:49 AM
I reported my Mrs for domestic abuse but do not want to proceed and have not given a statement will they close the case
Ga - 16-Jun-18 @ 1:37 PM
My fiancee is on license and got charged for a crime he didn't commit. He was with someone who did. He was recalled by probation because off this and has been held in custody for 6 weeks so far. There has been no evidence produced or statements even. Can he apply for Executive release or something until the trial commences in 3 months time.
Bridgette - 8-Jan-18 @ 6:45 PM
n/a - Your Question:
I need a question answered please, for a story I am writing. Question: Would the police place an artistist impression in a local newspaper of the person they are looking for, without informing the victim's family? Would they continue questioning the public neighbours about the suspect again without informing the victim's family? How much, in other words, do the victims family have to know about the police investigations.Thanks.

Our Response:
You can find out about the process via the CPS link here, which should tell you all you need to know about conducting an investigation.
CourtroomAdvice - 2-Nov-17 @ 10:57 AM
I need a question answered please, for a story I am writing. Question: Would the police place an artistist impression in a local newspaper of the person they are looking for, without informing the victim's family?Would they continue questioning the public neighbours about the suspect again without informing the victim's family? How much, in other words, do the victims family have to know about the police investigations. Thanks.
n/a - 1-Nov-17 @ 1:33 PM
I was recently a victim of identity fraud, theft and fraud by a long term family friend. The police arrested the person and bailed them to complete there investigations. However they have now been released without charge due to not enough criminal evidence to support a CPS decision to go to court. I have provided information which I myself have gathered to support my crime as this Person has apparently done this before and the police state they know that they have done this but although there is lots of substantial evidence there is not enough criminal evidence. I have asked the police for additional means of proving this by obtaining voice analysis, mobile phone tracking etc but they say that they do not have the resources and consequently closed the case. I am so disappointed as I now have pay day loan company's taking me to court and feel let down by the police in view that at times they have messed up the investigation as well as not proceeding to investigate all the evidence as other company's are now attacking me now with threats of court and bailiffs! During the investigation my case was overtaken by four police officers with the last one being part time hours and retiring the end of march. They also had 12 other cases to deal with at the time and when I asked how many hours were put into my case, I am unable to get a answer. Most of the evidence they have obtained was provided in fact by myself and I now feel so distraught in view of my health and wellbeing as a result. I am simply just left to face the music In which I was also a victim too in respect of money stolen from my bank account and now do not have the means of legal support. I have never been in trouble with the police nor have I ever requested help from them before.Having always worked and never claim any form of benefits and paid my taxes etc I feel that this is unbelievable and do not know which way to turn. Pls can you advise me?
Tinkerbell - 15-Feb-17 @ 10:51 AM
I was falsely accusedwith Rape more than 2 weeks ago, after police make my interview they gave me bail with a condiation to take my passport and not allowed to travel back to where my family and kids are located"overseas", they ask me to report to the police station on 22nd -dec to complete the rape investigation, on the 19th - Dec they send e-mail to solicitor that the case is delaied and i have to come to the police station on 15-March -2016 to see wheter i will be charge or not. I make application to Majestries court and i had the hearing to vary the bail condiation and give me my passport to travel, the court rejected my application. I'm about to loose my job .. i Need advise about this compliacted situation in my life.
modydady - 24-Dec-16 @ 4:21 PM
I truly need advice as I have never felt so depressed,i was caught and arrested for trying to take 2 clothing items to the value of £24.from a shop.i had put a sale item on each of the items .I was caught and cautioned twice for similar and of similar value about 4 or 5 years ago.i admitted my guilt and apologized and I was crying as I was so ashamed.i was arrested and charged to go before the magistrates court in a weeks time.im so scared I have 3 kids and an elderly mum that I care for.i know I shouldn't have done it but im so scared of going to prison.please someone help me out here .will I go to prison?
fuzzywuzzy - 20-Nov-16 @ 3:12 AM
Hi, I was arrested and charged with theft of a watch(which was still in the premises as I was lodger there) and also possession of a very small amount of cannabis. (£10 worth). My accuser got their watch back as it was still in the premises. I still denied I had the watch and did not know now it got into my room(the live in landlord has access to my room 24hrs!). I would like to keep how likely this is going to be a custodial sentence? Or a fine or both! I have been in trouble with police before but that was more than 12 years ago. Also this landlord has informed my place of work that i was arrested and the police advised I can take the landlord to Cort on a civil matter as slander as he should not have contacted my work place. Thanks in advance
Adzwick - 15-Nov-16 @ 9:15 PM
I was falsely accused of assault by my mother in law following my having her son (my then husband) arrested for biting me and threatening to punch me in front of our baby son. She didn't want to press charges but the police made me come in and be questioned on tape anyway. This was over a month ago and I have heard nothing, what notification am I entitled to and do they have a time limit for this? It seems unfair at least that I am living under this cloud when they just let my ex off for violent behaviour in front of a child.
TT - 5-Nov-16 @ 8:55 AM
If I get charged do I Allways get a charge sheet
shace - 11-Oct-16 @ 5:28 AM
I was arrested and charged spent two days in a police cell, suffered to suspect heart attacks.within the 48 hrs held my legal team who were with me at the police station said if the case goes to court they would be there for me. The Solicitors failed to show so I has no representation even though I pleaded not guilty I was sent to prison for a further 49 days all charges were dropped 4 days before trial my company suffered financial difficulties of £280,000 plus £240.000 I am told that if I don't pay my council tax they are going to take my liberty away can they send me to prison for not having any money ? Welcome to British Justice when I was in prison I had two choices Magistrates or Crown court I chose crown because I knew I was innocent those that put me in prison knew this hence why the took the easy way out and dropped the charges is it fair that because I have no money that I could lose my liberty again
Car - 9-Jul-16 @ 2:47 PM
A woman accused me of sexual assault twice on two different dates 2 months apart but never reported either for 6 weeks after the second allegation. During this period she had been contacting me with nice emails. She had also sat next to me three times. In her statement to the police she sated she was afraid of me and avoided me as often as she could On the first occasion I was not in the building she described. Witness said I never touched anybody On the second occasion I was not in that building at lunchtime I was somewhere else. Witnesses claimed I was in another place at lunchtime. She said I had groped her with both hands and she gasped. Her partner said he saw or heard nothing but saw me emerge with a plate of food.
barman - 4-May-16 @ 10:54 PM
@2b - they may have counted the cuttings as plants if you were intending to grow them. You might not be able to do much to have this changed.
Pete - 25-Apr-16 @ 1:46 PM
I have been changed with Production Of Cannabis, they quote 26 plants, but it was 8 grownb plants and 20+ cuttings of a 2weeks old, how do I get the charge sheet amended
2b - 24-Apr-16 @ 8:58 PM
nani - Your Question:
I am a oversees student have police conditional bail(1. notify change address 2.sign every month 3. contact maintain). they asked me to attend the police station on particular date but unfortunately I don't have visa till that date.

Our Response:
You would have to inform the police station of this. If you leave the country without reporting to the police station you will be in breach.
CourtroomAdvice - 4-Dec-15 @ 10:41 AM
I am a oversees student have police conditional bail(1. notify change address 2.sign every month 3. contact maintain). they asked me to attend the police station on particular date but unfortunately i don't have visa till that date.
nani - 3-Dec-15 @ 6:18 PM
In a case where a suspect (in detention) is charged and new witness statements are taken by the investigators after the charge (as a result of further investigation after the charge): does the investigator need to inform the accused of those new elements at early stage? Does the investigator need to caution the accused regarding the new elements? What does the law say? If not, isn't the equality of arms principle contravened?
David - 6-Aug-15 @ 8:44 AM
@lmc33 - I have included a link to the CAB article here on; 'anti-social behaviour in housing', which should answer your question. If not, you can contact the CAB directly for this advice.
CourtroomAdvice - 15-Jun-15 @ 2:34 PM
hi can you tell me if i can be accused of anti social behaviour if my partner who is not on my tenancy has been accused of assault this did bot happen at my address or was he arressted from my address apppreciated thanx
lmc33 - 12-Jun-15 @ 8:21 PM
In 2011 I made a complaint to a police force here in the UK that I had seen pictures posted on the net, of a nude 13 year old girl being passed about in a swimming pool, in a part of England. A few days later two detectives arrived at mine telling me they could do nothing, as the person taking the pictures was not from their area. Back in 2013, I made police aware that I took candid street photography, no indication was given that I might be breaking the law and I was allowed to continue until today. All pictures were hosted on Flickr, but my Flickr account was suspended, but nothing they could do in 2011. One law for the easy and an other for the bit harder.
MrMouse - 30-May-15 @ 3:34 PM
@Rottie - I didn't think prisoners were allowed to receive calls from outside?
Gemma - 17-Feb-15 @ 10:56 AM
My husband is currently serving a sentence and has been told to expect a legal phone call very soon after making enquiries it is noone from our team who else can make a legal phone call?
Rottie 1 - 14-Feb-15 @ 5:02 PM
My ex partner has got me charge under the communications act. This is ongoing. There is issues that I have not disclosed regarding the charges. This is about me being sexually abused by my ex before he pressed charges against myself I feel I can't report this crime in case they don't believe me. I don't have any evidence that's why I haven't reported this matter. also my ex partner has taken the pet that we both paid for.But don't have receipt. I have a witness who was there when we bought the dog
rob - 4-Feb-15 @ 9:58 PM
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