Police Custody in Norlfork and Suffolk - joint working 'strikingly successful'

16 Aug 2012 02:05 PM

Police custody provision in Norfolk and Suffolk was exemplary, 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 the six custody suites operated jointly by Norfolk and Suffolk Police. This initiative, in which all the previous suites had been decommissioned and six new police investigation centres (PICs) built, had been completed a few months previously and had been strikingly successful. The PICs were located in Bury St Edmunds and Martlesham in Suffolk, and Wymondham, King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth and Aylsham in Norfolk.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • the strategic framework was robust and there was good communication and collaboration between the different PICs;
  • the design and facilities management arrangements were excellent, and staff and detainees benefited from the clean, spacious environment;
  • strong and consistent management, with a sustained attention to detail, to quality assurance, to effective handovers and to individual staff roles ensured a remarkable degree of consistency in custody processes;
  • staff felt a real pride and ownership in the system, were calm and in control of their suites and were proactive in good risk assessment and management;
  • provision for minority groups was appropriate and detention was not overused; and
  • health care provision was of a good standard with a tightly drawn contract, though there were some delays in attendance and some issues in infection control.

Nick Hardwick and Dru Sharpling said:

'Overall, we recognise that the Norfolk and Suffolk joint custody programme now sets a benchmark for the quality both of custody provision and of thoroughly planned and executed joint working. This report provides a small number of recommendations to assist the forces and the Police Authorities to improve provision further. We expect our findings to be considered in the wider context of priorities and resourcing, and for an action plan to be provided in due course.'

Notes to editors:    

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. This joint inspection was carried out from 16-20 April 2012.
  4. 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.