Dorset Police custody – a well-managed service
Dorset Police custody was well run, detainees were treated decently and progress has been made in a number of areas, said Martin Lomas, Deputy Chief Inspector of Prisons, and Dru Sharpling, HM Inspector of Constabulary. Today they published the report of an unannounced inspection.
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progress has been made in a number of areas, said Martin Lomas, Deputy Chief Inspector of Prisons, and Dru Sharpling, HM Inspector of Constabulary. Today they published the report of an unannounced inspection.
The inspection was part of a national programme of joint inspections of police custody, and the second inspection of Dorset police custody cells. The first inspection was in November 2009.
Inspectors visited the custody suites at Bournemouth, Weymouth and the reserve suite at Poole, looking at strategy, treatment and conditions, individual rights and health care.
Inspectors were pleased to find that:
- the physical conditions detainees were held in were good and the treatment they received was appropriate and met their basic needs;
- staff were polite and focused on providing safe custody;
- risk assessments were generally undertaken to a high standard;
- the force used performance data and managed staffing resources well;
- the monitoring of use of force was commendable, with each incident recorded, reviewed and used to inform training and learning;
- the way information was shared at staff handovers was highly effective;
- the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner was actively involved in the provision of safer detention for vulnerable detainees, especially children with mental health concerns;
- there was an active independent custody visitor scheme;
- health services (provided by the force, CRG Medical, mental health providers, substance misuse services and NHS England) were good; and
- the strategic partnership with mental health services had resulted in a significant reduction in the number of people being brought into police custody.
However, inspectors were concerned to find that:
Martin Lomas and Dru Sharpling said:
“This is a positive report. Overall, Dorset Police managed its custodial services well. Detainees were generally treated well, and the conditions they were held in were good. Since the previous inspection, significant progress and improvements has been made in a number of important areas. We were particularly impressed at the progress made in relation to mental health provision. Our report identifies three areas of good practice, makes one recommendation to the force and highlights 13 areas for improvement. We expect our findings to be considered and for an action plan to be provided in due course.”
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Notes to editors
- HM Inspectorate of Prisons is an independent inspectorate, inspecting places of detention to report on conditions and treatment, and promote positive outcomes for those detained and the public.
- Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing in the public interest, and rigorously examines the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces to tackle crime and terrorism, improve criminal justice and raise confidence. HMIC inspects and regulates all 43 police forces in England and Wales.
- Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 enables a police officer to remove, from a public place, someone who they believe to be suffering from a mental disorder and in need of immediate care and control, and take them to a place of safety – for example, a health or social care facility, or the home of a relative or friend. In exceptional circumstances (for example if the person’s behaviour would pose an unmanageably high risk to others), the place of safety may be police custody. Section 136 also states that the purpose of detention is to enable the person to be assessed by a doctor and an approved mental health professional (for example a specially trained social worker or nurse), and for the making of any necessary arrangements for treatment or care.
- This joint inspection was carried out from 16-25 February 2016.
- Please contact Jane Parsons at HMI Prisons on 020 3681 2775 or Phil Gillen at HMI Constabulary on 020 3513 0600 if you would like more information.