PCC Pleased with Positive Gwent Custody Report

20th December 2017

A report following an unannounced inspection visit to police custody suites in Gwent found that detainees were ‘treated with respect and consideration, and were held safely in good conditions’.

The report published today follows unannounced inspections of police custody suites in Gwent carried out jointly by HM Inspectorate of Prisons and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services between 10th July and 20th July 2017.

During their visits, Inspectors looked at key areas including strategy, treatment and conditions, individual rights and health care. The HM Inspectorate concluded that this was an overall ‘positive report’ for Gwent Police and highlighted that:

  • They were pleased to find that the majority of detainees in police custody were treated with respect and consideration, and were held safely in good conditions;
  • The collation and extraction of data from force information systems was better than they normally find elsewhere, and performance was well understood;
  • That significant progress had been made with regards to health provision and that detainees received a sound and reliable health care service; and
  • That detainees held in police custody in Gwent are treated decently.

The report also identified areas of improvement and provided recommendations on how Gwent Police can further increase standards across its custody suites. This includes improving the quality of custody records; strengthening its joint working with local authority partners to ensure that children charged and refused bail were always looked after properly; and raising the standard of risk assessments for detainees before their release.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, is responsible for running and monitoring the Independent Custody Visiting Scheme in Gwent which involves specially trained volunteers making unannounced visits to police custody units to check on the welfare of detainees and the facilities they are held in.

Welcoming the positive report, Mr Cuthbert highlighted that some of the areas outlined for improvement were rectified immediately after the inspection.

“Ensuring the safety of detainees and the police officers and staff working in our custody units is paramount,” said Mr Cuthbert.

“We have invested significantly in improving our custody suites in Gwent to prevent harm and create a modern and safe environment for all. This includes the installation of CCTV and life-sign monitoring in all cells to monitor the movement and breathing of detainees. However, there is always room for improvement and we welcome all the areas highlighted for improvement by the Inspectors.

You can rest assured that I will be working with Gwent Police and our volunteer custody visitors to ensure we improve against the areas highlighted so we can continue to enhance safety in our custody suites, especially for the vulnerable people we often deal with. I would also like to thank all the officers and staff who work in our custody suites for their efforts. They have difficult jobs to do in often challenging circumstances.”

Commenting on the report, Julian Williams, the Chief Constable of Gwent Police, said: “It’s pleasing that the inspection concluded that we have made improvements in our custody provision and that detainees are being held safely and in good conditions. We will be reviewing the recommendations in detail to ensure we address areas where performance can be improved.”

This publication is available for download at: www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons/  or www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/