Cleveland Police's custody services need improvement

Cleveland Police needs to improve its custody services, including the care and safety of detainees, a new report has found.

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Report on an unannounced inspection visit to police custody suites in Cleveland Police

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) recognised that Cleveland Police had made several improvements since their last inspection in 2014.

For example, the force now has better healthcare for detainees, and a good focus on diverting people away from custody when detention might not be appropriate – for example children or those with mental health problems.

However, HMICFRS and HMIP said they had three main causes of concern about Cleveland Police’s custody services, which were:

  • the safety of detainees in custody, including unsatisfactory monitoring of detainees on CCTV and officers watching detainees in person not being properly briefed on the risks;
  • the use of force on detainees, which is not always recorded accurately or at all, and which sometimes appeared unnecessary or punitive; and
  • poor detainee care, including food and drink not always being proactively provided, and limited access to showers, exercise and reading materials.

The inspectorates have therefore made three recommendations for Cleveland Police to address these concerns, and have highlighted an additional 15 areas for improvement.

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Andy Cooke said:

“Anyone detained in custody should be treated fairly and kept safe from harm. Since we last inspected Cleveland Police’s custody services, the force has made some positive changes, including appointing a dedicated chief inspector for custody and putting a greater focus on improving outcomes for detainees.

“However, we still have significant concerns about the way some custody services are run, such as the management of risk and ensuring detainees are properly cared for and kept safe.

“We will be working closely with the force and monitoring its progress against our recommendations. The improvements the force has made so far give us more confidence that our concerns will be addressed.”

Get the report

Report on an unannounced inspection visit to police custody suites in Cleveland Police


  1. For further information, the HMICFRS Press Office can be contacted at