HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS)
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Gloucestershire Constabulary's custody services have improved, but further changes are needed

Gloucestershire Constabulary has improved its custody services, although more could be done to keep prisoners safe, a new report has found.

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Report on an unannounced inspection visit to police custody suites in Gloucestershire

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) found that Gloucestershire Constabulary had improved in several areas since their last inspection in 2015.

For example, the police force prioritises diverting children and vulnerable people away from custody, and custody staff speak courteously and respectfully with detainees.

However, HMICFRS and HMIP said they had three main causes of concern about Gloucestershire Constabulary’s custody services, mainly around its lack of oversight and governance. The causes of concern are:

  • information to show how often and what force is used, and by which officers, is often inaccurate and sometimes missing. The force cannot show that when force is used it is necessary, justified and proportionate;
  • poor recording on custody records makes it difficult to assess how well the force treats detainees and what has happened to them while in custody; and
  • meeting legal requirements for the detention, treatment and questioning of people, particularly in terms of providing detainees with their rights and entitlements.

The inspectorates have therefore made recommendations for Gloucestershire Constabulary to address these concerns, while also highlighting an additional 10 areas for improvement.

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams recently said:

“Anyone detained in custody should be treated fairly and kept safe from harm. Gloucestershire Constabulary has made some improvements since our last inspection in 2015, particularly in how it treats children and vulnerable detainees.

“Frontline officers we spoke to have a good understanding of vulnerability and take this into account when deciding whether to arrest a person. They divert children from custody as much as possible and understand their safeguarding duties. Custody staff approach detainees with respect.

“However, the force needs to improve its oversight and governance for its custody processes, particularly around recording details on the use of force and keeping custody records updated. Progress in these areas has been limited and we still have concerns.

“We will be working closely with Gloucestershire Constabulary and monitoring its progress against our new recommendations.”

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Report on an unannounced inspection visit to police custody suites in Gloucestershire




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