Independent Police Complaints Commission
IPCC completes investigation after Derby custody incident
Derbyshire Constabulary has introduced new custody processes following an IPCC investigation into an incident in which a woman suffered burns when she set her clothing alight in a cell.
The incident happened on 15 March last year (2016) after a woman detained at St Mary’s Wharf police station in Derby set fire to her clothing using a lighter she had hidden about her body.
She then activated a cell buzzer to raise the alarm but the IPCC’s investigator was told that no-one immediately attended the cell.
The situation was discovered when a medical professional went to check out noise from the cell and after staff helped to extinguish the flames the woman was taken to hospital with burns to one of her arms.
The force agreed with the IPCC investigator’s conclusion that there was a case to answer for misconduct against a custody detention officer, who received a written warning after attending a police staff disciplinary hearing.
The IPCC’s investigation also looked at how the woman was searched and the risk assessment carried out when she was booked into custody. In the investigator’s opinion these were both conducted appropriately.
Derbyshire Constabulary has already implemented IPCC recommendations concerning the monitoring of cell CCTV screens during staff briefings and risk assessments prior to cell buzzers being silenced.
The force also indicated that it was acting on a further recommendation that a dedicated member of custody staff should monitor cell communication buttons during shift changeovers.
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