Metropolitan police custody – many positives but concerns about use of force and health care

Inspectors found many positive features in custody suites across the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) area, including clear overall governance and generally well-trained staff.

Other strengths included respectful treatment of detainees – in suites which, though old and dated, were kept in good, clean condition – and a clear focus on keeping children and vulnerable adults, including those with mental ill-health, out of custody.

However, the joint inspection by HM Inspectorate of Prisons and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services identified two principal causes for concern:

Though custody staff were generally patient and sensitive when dealing with challenging detainees, with officers clearly focused on de-escalating situations, inspectors noted that when force was used against detainees the governance and oversight of incidents were not adequate.

Inspectors also found that the strategic oversight of the provision of health care was poor, outcomes for detainees were inconsistent, and not all detainees received prompt access to medical care.

Read the full press release and report.