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. Challenging unfair bail conditions
  5. Resisting victimisation of protesters.


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