There is a shared strategic focus on custody, including the care and treatment of all those detained, during escort and at the court, to ensure the well-being of detainees.

Leadership and multi-agency relationships

1.1 Each court cluster has a strategic, multi-agency focus on custody and escort provision which promotes shared working among all the organisations involved to ensure the safe and respectful delivery of custody.


  • There is an effective management structure within HM Courts and Tribunal Services (HMCTS), HM Prisons and Probation Service Prisoner Escort and Custody Services (PECS), and court custody and escort contractors to ensure policies and procedures are in place. The policies and procedures are fully implemented and reviewed regularly to ensure appropriate care and treatment of detainees in court custody and while travelling under escort to and from court. Policies and procedures are accessible and staff understand them.
  • There is constructive engagement between all relevant partner agencies – including HMCTS, PECS, court custody and escort contractors, criminal justice agencies (including prisons, police and the Crown Prosecution Service), health and substance misuse services and youth offending services – to support the safe and respectful delivery of custody. Outcomes for detainees can be clearly demonstrated.
  • There are sufficient resources to carry out the custody and escort functions to ensure the safety and well-being of detainees. Custody and escort staff are vetted and trained with the right skills, they understand how to respond to detainees, and their training needs are assessed and met so that they perform the requirements of their respective roles.
  • Agencies involved in the delivery of court custody have clear whistleblowing procedures, and all staff know how to raise concerns.
  • Safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults is embedded at a strategic level, and supported by clear policies and procedures specific to their needs. Court custody and escort staff are trained to recognise safeguarding issues and to understand the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and vulnerable people, and are supported to do so.
  • Staff understand how to refer a potential victim of trafficking to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). Any referral to the NRM is made with informed consent whenever possible.
  • Services provided to support court custody are monitored and scrutinised to hold providers to account.
  • Court custody is open to external scrutiny. Issues and complaints raised by lay observers are responded to appropriately. This includes dealing with immediate complaints and issues raised during visits.

1.2 Performance management data supports the safe delivery of custody.


  • Accurate data (including for example, custody throughput, demographics, adverse incidents, use of force and complaints) are routinely collated and analysed to identify trends. They are used to inform organisational learning and to improve outcomes for detainees, including in relation to equality and diversity.
  • Quality assurance processes promote the safe and respectful treatment of detainees and continuing professional development of staff.

Human rights standards

In relation to expectations 1.1–1.2: Human rights standards require that all places of detention are managed to ensure that detention is prescribed by law and that detainees’ human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. That means that the humanity and inherent dignity of each and every detainee is recognised in policy and practice, that vulnerable detainees are identified and safeguarded and that managers ensure that all staff have the requisite knowledge, aptitude and skill to perform their duties and to meet the needs of different individuals. Policy and practice should ensure that staff and detainees are able and encouraged to raise concerns about safety or care at any time. A child (any person under the age of 18 years) must be treated as vulnerable by reason of age and their best interests must be a primary consideration. See ECHR 2, 3, 5; ICCPR 9, 10(1); ICESCR 12(1); CERD 2, 5; CAT 2, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16; OPCAT 19, 20, 21, 22; BOP 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 29; EPR 76, 81.2, 81.3; DEDRB 2; DRM 4; DHRIN 5(a); YP 9(a), (f), (g), (i), (j), 10. In relation to children specifically see CRC 3, 19, 24, 33–37, 40; HR 17, 84. See also CPT/Inf(2004)28-part, Combating impunity and CPT/Inf(2018)4-part, Complaints mechanisms.