United KingdomCIVIL

Investigation of Crime in UK

The Code of Practice to the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 (CPIA) defines a criminal investigation as:

An investigation conducted with a view to it being ascertained whether a person should be charged with an offence, or whether a person charged with an offence is guilty of it.

This will include-

  1. investigations into crimes that have been committed;
  2. investigations whose purpose is to ascertain whether a crime has been committed, with a view to the possible institution of criminal proceedings; and
  3. investigations which begin in the belief that a crime may be committed, for example when the police keep premises or individuals under observation for a period of time, with a view to the possible institution of criminal proceedings
    An investigator may be a warranted officer or member of police staff. Section 38 of the Police Reform Act 2002 allows chief officers to designate police staff as investigating officers.

The Professionalising Investigation Programme (PIP) provides a structured development programme to embed and maintain investigative skills for police officers and police staff. It aims to deliver the capability to conduct professional investigations at all levels within the Police Service and in other sectors of Law Enforcement.

Essential Laws

  1. Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980
  2. Criminal Justice Act 1948
  3. Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984
  4. Criminal Justice Act 1988
  5. Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1933
  6. Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988
  7. Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1976
  8. Theft Act 1968
  9. Bankers’ Books Evidence Act 1879
  10. SEE MORE

Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996

Introductory Text

Part I Disclosure


1- Application of this Part.

2. General interpretation.

The main provisions

3. Initial duty of prosecutor to disclose.

4. Initial duty to disclose: further provisions.

5.Compulsory disclosure by accused.

6. Voluntary disclosure by accused.

6A.Contents of defence statement

6B.Updated disclosure by accused

6C.Notification of intention to call defence witnesses

6D.Notification of names of experts instructed by accused

6E.Disclosure by accused: further provisions

7. Secondary disclosure by prosecutor.

7A.Continuing duty of prosecutor to disclose

8. Application by accused for disclosure.

9. Continuing duty of prosecutor to disclose.

10.Prosecutor’s failure to observe time limits.

11. Faults in disclosure by accused.

Time limits

12.Time limits.

13.Time limits: transitional.

Public interest

14.Public interest: review for summary trials.

15.Public interest: review in other cases.

16.Applications: opportunity to be heard.


17.Confidentiality of disclosed information.

18. Confidentiality: contravention.

Other provisions

19.Rules of court.

20.Other statutory rules as to disclosure.

21. Common law rules as to disclosure.

21A.Code of practice for police interviews of witnesses notified by accused

Part II Criminal Investigations

22. Introduction.

23. Code of practice.

24. Examples of disclosure provisions.

25. Operation and revision of code.

26. Effect of code.

27. Common law rules as to criminal investigations.

Part III Preparatory Hearings


28. Introduction.

Preparatory hearings

29. Power to order preparatory hearing.

30. Start of trial and arraignment.

31. The preparatory hearing.

32. Orders before preparatory hearing.

33.Criminal Procedure Rules.

34. Later stages of trial.


35. Appeals to Court of Appeal.

36. Appeals to Supreme Court.

Reporting restrictions

37. Restrictions on reporting.

38. Offences in connection with reporting.

Part IV Rulings

39.Meaning of pre-trial hearing.

40. Power to make rulings.

41. Restrictions on reporting.

42. Offences in connection with reporting.

43. Application of this Part.

Part V Committal, Transfer, Etc.

44. Reinstatement of certain provisions.

45. Notices of transfer.

46. War crimes: abolition of transfer procedure.

47. Committal proceedings.

Collapse -Part VI Magistrates’ Courts
48. Non-appearance of accused: issue of warrant.

49. Either way offences: accused’s intention as to plea.

50. Enforcement of payment of fines.

51. Summons to witness and warrant for his arrest.

52. Remand.

53. Attachment of earnings.

Part VII Miscellaneous and General

Tainted acquittals

54. Acquittals tainted by intimidation etc.

55. Conditions for making order.

56. Time limits for proceedings.

57. Tainted acquittals: supplementary.

Derogatory assertions

58. Orders in respect of certain assertions.

59. Restriction on reporting of assertions.

60. Reporting of assertions: offences.

61. Reporting of assertions: commencement and supplementary.

Evidence: special provisions

62. Television links and video recordings.

63. Road traffic and transport: provision of specimens.

64. Checks against fingerprints etc.

Witness orders and summonses

65. Abolition of witness orders.

66. Summons to witness to attend Crown Court.

67. Witness summons: securing attendance of witness.

Other miscellaneous provisions

68. Use of written statements and depositions at trial.

69. Proof by written statement.

70. Indemnification of justices and justices’ clerks.

71. Meaning of preliminary stage of criminal proceedings.

72. Fraud.

73. Amendments to the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995.

74. Alibi.


75. Time when alleged offence committed.

76. Power of magistrates’ courts.

77. Orders and regulations.

78. Application to armed forces.

79. Extent.

80. Repeals.

81. Citation.


SCHEDULE 1 Committal Proceedings
SCHEDULE 2 Statements and depositions
SCHEDULE 4 Modifications for Northern Ireland
SCHEDULE 5 Repeals


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