HMIC inspection of Sussex custody assessed as good
Sussex Police has welcomed a joint inspection into custody centres across the force to assess care for those detained.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary's latest report with HM Inspectorate of Prisons was carried out at the force in November 2016 having last been inspected in February 2011.
The inspection found that the force treated prisoners with respect and consideration and assessed those with vulnerabilities well. The force was praised for its strong focus on children who were in custody and that it was good at avoiding keeping those under 17 in overnight.
The inspection recommended areas of improvement include detaining those in a mental health crisis, potential ligature points within cells and lack of reading material.
Inspectors recognised the work the force had done to work with partner agencies to avoid detaining those under section 136 of the Mental Health Act. Although the force has made strides forward, people in a mental health crisis were still being brought to custody as a place of safety.
A number of ligature points were found in cells and inspectors recommended the force look to address the potential safety risk.
The inspection recommended improvements in the provision of reading material for those from all religious backgrounds, as well as information available for those detainees who were deaf or blind.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Phelps said: "Overall this is a positive inspection as it recognises we take the care and treatment of detainees very seriously. We acknowledge the recommendations given to us and already have in place plans to improve these areas.
"The number of people detained in custody under section 136 is monitored monthly and before we received the HMIC report, we had begun to address the issue. We held a multiagency meeting along with the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to understand the situation. We know there are not always enough beds for those in a mental health crisis, however we are always focused on keeping them safe, although a cell is never the ideal option.
"We always welcome these inspections so we can improve the care for those detained within our custody."