Police custody facilities - joint inspections

This page sets out information about HMICFRS’s joint inspections of police custody, including:

Why we inspect police custody facilities

Police custody inspections are carried out by HMICFRS and HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP), as part of the criminal just inspectorates’ joint work programme.

These inspections contribute to the UK’s response to the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, or the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

To comply with obligations under OPCAT, all places of detention must be inspected regularly to monitor treatment of, and conditions for, detainees. This approach is known as the National Preventative Mechanism (NPM). HMICFRS and HMIP are just two of the UK’s NPM members.

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Rolling programme of custody inspections

HMICFRS and HMIP have a rolling programme of unannounced police custody inspections across all 43 Home Office-funded police forces in England and Wales. The programme ensures that each force is inspected every six years, at a minimum.

Additionally, Border Force and British Transport Police custody facilities are inspected. During the 2018/19 custody inspection programme, we will also be inspecting custody suites for detainees held under the Terrorism Act. This is the first time such inspections have taken place.

Police custody inspections assess how well each police force is fulfilling its responsibilities for the safe detention and respectful treatment of those detained in police custody. They focus on outcomes for detainees.

Assessment criteria

Custody suites are assessed against criteria set out in the Expectations for Police Custody. These criteria have been developed by the two inspectorates, through consultation with the police service. They are frequently reviewed to achieve best custodial practice and drive improvement.

The expectations set out five principal inspection areas:

  1. leadership, accountability and partnerships;
  2. pre-custody: first point of contact;
  3. in the custody suite: booking in, individual needs and legal rights;
  4. in the custody cell: safeguarding and health care; and
  5. release and transfer from custody.

The inspections also assess compliance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Codes of Practice and the College of Policing’s ‘Authorised Professional Practice – Detention and Custody’.

The welfare of vulnerable people in police custody

In 2015, HMICFRS published its thematic report on the welfare of vulnerable people in police custody. This inspection was commissioned by the Home Secretary.

The inspection focused on three groups where there was “a pronounced concern” about their treatment in police custody:

  • those with mental health conditions;
  • those from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds; and
  • children.

The findings from this inspection informed our current Expectations for Police Custody, which include specific assessment criteria for these groups.

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Force reports

For inspection reports and their related press releases, please choose from the list below.

Please note: In July 2017 HMIC took on responsibility for fire & rescue service inspections and was renamed HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS). Inspections carried out before July 2017 may continue to refer to HMIC.

2018

Derbyshire – Joint inspection of police custody – August 2018

Thames Valley – Joint inspection of police custody – June 2018

Northamptonshire – Joint inspection of police custody – June 2018

Humberside – Joint inspection of police custody – March 2018

Dyfed-Powys – Joint inspection of police custody – March 2018

Cambridgeshire – Joint inspection of police custody – February 2018

2017

Gwent – Joint inspection of police custody – December 2017

North London – Joint inspection of police custody – November 2017

Border Force – Joint inspection of police custody – September 2017

Essex – Joint inspection of police custody – August 2017

Staffordshire – Joint inspection of police custody – August 2017

West Midlands – Joint inspection of police custody – June 2017

Sussex – Joint inspection of police custody – March 2017

Hampshire – Joint inspection of police custody – March 2017

2016

Avon and Somerset – Joint inspection of police custody – December 2016

West Yorkshire – Joint inspection of police custody – December 2016

South Wales– Joint inspection of police custody – November 2016

Lancashire – Joint inspection of police custody – November 2016

Dorset – Joint inspection of police custody – September 2016

Greater Manchester – Joint inspection of police custody – July 2016

Met Detention South – Joint inspection of police custody – April 2016

North Yorkshire – Joint inspection of police custody – March 2016

Lincolnshire – Joint inspection of police custody – February 2016

2015

Hertfordshire – Joint inspection of police custody – November 2015

Cumbria – Joint inspection of police custody – September 2015

Gloucestershire – Joint inspection of police custody – August 2015

Border Force – Joint inspection of police custody – July 2015

Surrey – Joint inspection of police custody – June 2015

Cleveland – Joint inspection of police custody suites – May 2015

Warwickshire and West Mercia – Joint inspection of police custody – May 2015

North Wales – Joint inspection of police custody suites – May 2015

Leicestershire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – March 2015

Kent – Joint inspection of police custody suites – February 2015

2014

Durham – Joint inspection of police custody suites – December 2014

South Yorkshire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – December 2014

Bedfordshire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – October 2014

British Transport Police – Joint inspection of police custody suites – September 2014

Northumbria – Joint inspection of police custody suites – July 2014

Islington – Joint inspection of police custody suites – May 2014

Southwark – Joint inspection of police custody suites – May 2014

Newham – Joint inspection of police custody suites – April 2014

Thames Valley – Joint inspection of police custody suites – February 2014

Camden – Joint inspection of police custody suites – February 2014

Barnet – Joint inspection of police custody suites – February 2014

Devon and Cornwall – Joint inspection of police custody suites – January 2014

Barking and Dagenham – Joint inspection of police custody suites – January 2014

Havering – Joint inspection of police custody suites – January 2014

2013

Dyfed-Powys – Joint inspection of police custody suites – October 2013

Derbyshire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – September 2013

Cheshire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – August 2013

Nottinghamshire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – August 2013

Westminster – Joint inspection of police custody suites – August 2013

Essex – Joint inspection of police custody suites – June 2013

Hampshire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – May 2013

Border Force customs – Joint inspection of police custody suites – May 2013

Haringey – Joint inspection of police custody suites – April 2013

Merseyside – Joint inspection of police custody suites – March 2013

Gwent – Joint inspection of police custody suites – January 2013

2012

Avon and Somerset – Joint inspection of police custody suites – December 2012

City of London – Joint inspection of police custody suites – November 2012

Staffordshire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – September 2012

Lewisham – Joint inspection of police custody suites – September 2012

Bromley – Joint inspection of police custody suites – September 2012

Greater Manchester – Joint inspection of police custody suites – September 2012

Norfolk and Suffolk – Joint inspection of police custody suites – August 2012

Waltham Forest – Joint inspection of police custody suites – May 2012

Redbridge – Joint inspection of police custody suites – May 2012

Humberside – Joint inspection of police custody suites – May 2012

South Wales – Joint inspection of police custody suites – March 2012

Tower Hamlets – Joint inspection of police custody suites – March 2012

Northamptonshire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – February 2012

Heathrow – Joint inspection of police custody suites – February 2012

Hounslow – Joint inspection of police custody suites – February 2012

Northumbria – Joint inspection of police custody suites – January 2012

Nottinghamshire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – January 2012

2011

Hammersmith and Fulham – Joint inspection of police custody suites – November 2011

Lancashire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – September 2011

Cleveland – Joint inspection of police custody suites – September 2011

Cambridgeshire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – September 2011

West Yorkshire revisit – Joint inspection of police custody suites – July 2011

Sussex – Joint inspection of police custody suites – June 2011

Sutton – Joint inspection of police custody suites – June 2011

Croydon – Joint inspection of police custody suites – June 2011

Lincolnshire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – May 2011

Kent – Joint inspection of police custody suites – April 2011

West Midlands – Joint inspection of police custody suites – March 2011

North Wales – Joint inspection of police custody suites – January 2011

Avon and Somerset – Joint inspection of police custody suites – January 2011

2010

Harrow – Joint inspection of police custody suites – November 2010

South Yorkshire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – November 2010

Bedfordshire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – November 2010

Brent – Joint inspection of police custody suites – September 2010

Greenwich – Joint inspection of police custody suites – September 2010

Kensington and Chelsea – Joint inspection of police custody suites – September 2010

Bexley – Joint inspection of police custody suites – August 2010

Kingston upon Thames – Joint inspection of police custody suites – August 2010

Merton – Joint inspection of police custody suites – August 2010

Surrey – Joint inspection of police custody suites – June 2010

North Yorkshire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – June 2010

Wandsworth – Joint inspection of police custody suites – June 2010

Hackney – Joint inspection of police custody suites – May 2010

2009

Cumbria – Joint inspection of police custody suites – September 2009

Wiltshire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – September 2009

Leicestershire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – August 2009

Tower Hamlets – Joint inspection of police custody suites – July 2009

Ealing – Joint inspection of police custody suites – July 2009

Durham – Joint inspection of police custody suites – June 2009

Lambeth – Joint inspection of police custody suites – June 2009

Enfield – Joint inspection of police custody suites – May 2009

Hertfordshire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – January 2009

2008

Cambridgeshire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – November 2008

West Yorkshire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – October 2008

Gloucestershire – Joint inspection of police custody suites – July 2008

Hillingdon – Joint inspection of police custody suites – June 2008

Islington – Joint inspection of police custody suites – May 2008

Southwark – Joint inspection of police custody suites – April 2008

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Related documents

Memorandum of Understanding for the Joint Inspection of Police Custody Conditions in England and Wales – Updated March 2016

Memorandum of Understanding between HM Inspectorates of Prisons and Constabulary and The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) – January 2015

Memorandum of Understanding on the Joint Inspection of Police Custody Conditions in England and Wales – Updated December 2011

Expectations for Police Custody: Criteria for assessing the treatment of and conditions for detainees in police custody – Updated April 2018

Data analysis template for inspected forces to complete – May 2018

Inspection evidence and logistics requirements template for inspected forces to comply with – May 2018

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