Police custody provision in Staffordshire was generally positive, but needed
to focus on consistency and better health care, said Nick Hardwick, Chief
Inspector of Prisons, and Dru Sharpling, HM Inspector of Constabulary,
publishing the report of an unannounced inspection.
The inspection was part of a national programme of joint inspections of
police custody. It looked at three custody suites in Staffordshire which operate
24 hours a day, in Stoke-on-Trent, Burton-on-Trent and Watling House, Gailey.
Two reserve suites in Stafford and Tamworth were also inspected. Overall there
were some areas of excellent practice, but some areas which still needed to be
Inspectors were pleased to find that:
- custody staff treated people positively and respectfully;
- the custody suites were mainly in clean and in good condition;
- risk assessment and risk management, including pre-release issues, were
- the use of force was proportionate;
- custody sergeants made appropriate decisions about detention and reviews
were carried out on time; and
- there was a reasonably good substance misuse service.
However, inspectors were concerned to find that:
- although there was an appropriate oversight of the custody function, the
structure wasn’t clear enough at several points: a centralised custody model had
been in place for two years, but was not fully embedded in consistent standards
- the system of organisation and delivery of health services was outdated,
although custody staff did their best to work around the shortcomings;
- clinical governance was informal at best, while clinical rooms and many
aspects of medical equipment and medicines management were not up to standard;
- there was little assistance for those with disabilities; and
- there was insufficient provision of appropriate adults, especially for
vulnerable adults in the south of the county.
Nick Hardwick and Dru Sharpling said:
'Staffordshire Police was providing decent conditions of detention, and the
centralising of this function was leading to improvements. As the force moved to
a fully centralised and corporate organisation of custody, it needed to focus on
consistent quality of delivery, monitored and reinforced by managers locally and
at senior level. There should also be attention to some particular areas, such
as health services, which need to be established on more secure foundations than
at the time of inspection. We expect our findings to considered in the wider
context of priorities and resourcing, and for an action plan to be provided in
- View a copy of the full report.
- 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.
- Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) is an independent
inspectorate, inspecting policing in the public interest, and rigorously
examines the efficiency and 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, the British Transport Police and HMRC.
- This joint inspection was carried out from 28 May – 1 June 2012.
- Please contact Jane Parsons (HMIP Press Office) on 020 7035 2123 or 07880
787452 or Ruth Allman (HMIC Press Office) on 020 3513 0600 if you would like
more information or to request an interview.