#021/2010 – Police Custody in Kingston Upon Thames – generally positive
Police custody in Kingston was generally positive, but there were some issues about monitoring the use of force and health services, said Sir Denis O’Connor, Chief Inspector of Constabulary, and Nigel Newcomen, Deputy Chief Inspector of Prisons, publishing the report of a joint inspection into custody suites in the London Borough of Kingston upon Thames.
The inspection covered the custody suite in Kingston. Overall, it found some good practice and some areas of excellence.
Inspectors were pleased to find that:
- relationships between staff and detainees were professional and relaxed, and risk assessments were thorough;
- there was awareness of the specific vulnerabilities of women and juveniles; and
- liaison between police and mental health services was among the best inspectors have seen.
Inspectors were, however, concerned to find that:
- information about use of force was not collated locally or London-wide to allow patterns and trends to be monitored;
- the arrangements for monitoring and governance of the healthcare contract were unclear; and
- although the requirements of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) were adhered to, this meant 17-year-olds were excluded from automatic entitlement to the appropriate adult service.
The Chief Inspector and Deputy Chief Inspector said:
“In general, this is a positive report. It does, however, raise some issues about the monitoring of the use of force and the oversight of health service provision. We hope that its recommendations will be helpful to the Metropolitan Police Service and the Borough Commander in continuing to improve custodial conditions and treatment in Kingston.”
Notes to editors
- Separate inspections of three London Boroughs (Bexley, Merton and Kingston) were carried out between 6 and 28 April 2010 as part of an ongoing programme of joint inspections of police custody conditions. The programme is projected to be over a six-year period, during which time all police forces in England and Wales, and all London Boroughs will be inspected at least once each.
- All the boroughs subject of these reports are policed by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), but most aspects of the provision of custody services are the responsibility of local command teams and therefore areas of concern will normally need to be tackled at that level. In addition, there are some aspects of policy and strategic management which are handled at the force level and some recommendations in individual reports are therefore directed more widely to the MPS and/or the Metropolitan Police Authority.
- The three reports (Bexley, Merton and Kingston) have been published together to provide an opportunity for both local and force level response, but reducing the overall administrative impact that separate publication might create for the MPS and MPA.
- These joint inspections were carried out: Merton: 6-8 April 2010; Kingston: 7-9 April 2010; and Bexley: 26-28 April 2010.
- A copy of each of the full reports can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website from 4 August 2010 at www.justice.gov.uk/inspectorates/hmi- prisons.
- 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.
- HM Inspectorate of Constabulary is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing in the public interest, and rigorously examines the effectiveness of police forces and authorities to tackle crime and terrorism, improve criminal justice and raise confidence. HMIC inspects and regulates all 43 police forces in England and Wales together with other major policing bodies such as the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the British Transport Police and HMRC.
- Please contact Jane Parsons (HMI Prisons press office) on 020 7035 2123 or 07880 787452 or Robert Stansfield (HMIC Press Office) on 020 7802 1824 if you would like more information or to request an interview.