What is bail and should I ignore police bail?

Our phoneline can only answer questions about bail where it regards to a protest context. Please do NOT call us for other questions about bail conditions. Go straight to a solicitor!

Bail is one of several actions that the police can take after arresting you. It involves release from police custody to await a later appearance at court or a police station. Your case can be dropped while you’re on bail.

If you are bailed without charge, called ‘pre-charge bail’ this means that you will have to appear at a police station at a later date. This is so that the police can look over the evidence and decide whether or not to charge you.

Being bailed and charged, called ‘post-charge bail’ is where you have been charged and you must appear in court at a later date.

Both types can come with conditions attached which are things you must not do, for example: “You must not return to the borough of Newham”, “You must not go within 1km of an airport” or “You must not associate with [a particular person]”.

  1. Why the police use bail
  2. What should I do if I’ve been bailed?
  3. What happens if I break bail conditions?
  4. Resisting victimisation of protesters.


This guide has been adapted from the Legal Defence and Monitoring Group (LDMG), one of our partner groups.