Kent Police's custody services have improved, but further changes are needed

Kent Police has improved its custody services, but further changes are needed to ensure the safety of detainees, a new report has found.

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Report on an unannounced inspection visit to police custody suites in Kent

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) found that Kent Police generally cares well for detainees taken to custody.

The inspectorates also found that the force has a good focus on diverting children and vulnerable people away from custody when detention might not be appropriate, and that it has measures to identify and address any disproportionality in how detainees are treated.

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

  • some safety measures for detainees in custody, including not making sure detainees under the influence of drugs or alcohol are regularly roused and spoken to, and checks on detainees often being carried out only by looking through spyholes; and
  • managing custody services, including detention officers carrying out duties they are not authorised to do, and work sometimes being duplicated.

The inspectorates have therefore made recommendations for Kent Police to address these concerns, while also highlighting an additional 22 areas for improvement.

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Roy Wilsher said:

“Anyone detained in custody should be treated fairly and kept safe from harm. Kent Police has made good progress against the recommendations we made in 2014.

“Custody staff treat detainees respectfully, are calm and patient when talking with them, and respond well to their diverse needs. During our inspection, detainees spoke very positively about their care in custody.

“However, we still have concerns in some areas, such as ensuring detainees are kept safe at all times and how effectively custody services are managed. We will be working closely with Kent Police and monitoring its progress against our recommendations.”

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Report on an unannounced inspection visit to police custody suites in Kent


  1. For further information, the HMICFRS Press Office can be contacted on 07836217729 or at