Report Says Derbyshire's Custody Suites "Not Up To Standard"

22 August 2018, 08:16 | Updated: 22 August 2018, 08:25

Handcuffs 244

Custody suites run by Derbyshire Police aren't up to standard - according to a report out this morning.

Inspectors found unreliable record keeping and little investment - and a number of potential ligature points which could be a risk to vulnerable detainees.

During the joint and unannounced visit - inspectors said quality of custody records was generally poor and they often failed to record key information or the justification for important decisions whilst there was insufficient oversight of the use of force in custody.

Inspectors found detainees were generally treated respectfully, and staff were patient with challenging detainees, only using force as a last resort. However, there were insufficient adaptations for some detainees with disabilities. Women detainees were rarely offered a named female member of staff to discuss gender-specific issues, and they were not routinely offered sanitary items.

There was a good understanding of the importance of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults though.

Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons and Wendy Williams, HM Inspector of Constabulary, said: "There had been little improvement since our inspection in 2013, and we identified several causes of concern that were leading to poor outcomes for detainees.

The force was, however, open to challenge and recognised the weaknesses that needed addressing. 

We found committed staff and a strong culture of wanting to improve. Early discussions with the force gave us reassurance that it was taking our findings seriously, and we are confident that it will take the necessary steps to deliver the required improvements."

Assistant Chief Constable Bill McWilliam said: “The inspection of our custody facilities, which took place in April, has been invaluable in enabling us to recognise improvements we needed to make.

“An action plan to remedy each of the areas for concern, as well as making further improvements over-and-above those areas, is well underway.

“The inspectorate has recognised that we are committed to making the necessary changes, as well as noting the positive attitudes of the team that will enable the improvements to be achieved.

“The report also recognised a positive culture among the teams within our custody facilities and stated that the attitude of the staff – and the care of their suspects – is of a good standard.”