Posted: Thu 21st Apr 2022

North Wales Police needs to ‘further improve’ custody services to ensure safety of detainees

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Apr 21st, 2022

North Wales Police has improved its custody services, but further changes are needed to ensure the safety of detainees, a new report has found. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) said the region’s police force has made improvements in several areas since their last inspection in 2014. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The inspectorates found that frontline officers understand vulnerability and take account of this when deciding to make an arrest. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

They also said the police force only takes children into custody after exploring other alternatives. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

However, HMICFRS and HMIP said they had four main causes of concern about North Wales Police’s custody services, which were: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

  • the force doesn’t always meet legal requirements, including providing detainees with written copies of their rights and entitlements;
  • governance and oversight of the use of force in custody is limited, and North Wales Police can’t show that when force is used it is necessary and proportionate;
  • the quality of recording on custody records is poor, with important information missing from some records; and
  • the force is not managing detainee risks well enough, including different officers carrying out checks, so there is often little continuity to assess changes in a detainee’s behaviour.

The inspectorates have therefore made recommendations for North Wales Police to address these concerns, while also highlighting an additional 17 areas for improvement. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams said: “Anyone detained in custody should be treated fairly and kept safe from harm. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“North Wales Police has made many improvements since our last inspection in 2014. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Custody staff are respectful, calm and confident when dealing with detainees. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The force is committed to diverting children and vulnerable adults away from custody. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“It is also good at recording and reporting adverse incidents in detention and learning from them. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“However, we still have concerns in some areas, including explaining rights to detainees, the use of force, and record keeping. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We will be working closely with North Wales Police and monitoring its progress against our new recommendations.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


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