New processes to protect the welfare of vulnerable people detained in police custody are to be rolled out across Derbyshire following a successful pilot.
Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa gave the go-ahead to a new scrutiny system which will be carried out by volunteers alongside his Independent Custody Visiting Scheme (ICVS), at his Strategic Priorities Assurance board on Monday 26 November.
All Police and Crime Commissioners have a statutory duty to put in place an effective custody visiting scheme to monitor the standards of custody facilities and the wellbeing of detainees.
Derbyshire already has a scheme in place, however the Commissioner was keen to expand its role and launch an extended new service focusing on the most vulnerable people in police custody.
The new scheme will see volunteers focusing on vulnerable detainees only to understand their experience of custody by reviewing complete custody records.
They will report on a range of criteria to examine whether those individuals have been detained according to their needs and in line with PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) regulations. This includes whether they received access to an Appropriate Adult and how long this took, whether they received their rights and entitlements and whether their dietary and religious needs were catered for.
A pilot on the scheme has been running since April and due to its success, the Commissioner is set to roll out the project permanently from November.
Commenting on the launch, Mr Dhindsa said: “We have a duty to uphold the rights of all those who find themselves in police custody and provide the highest level of care and welfare standards, particularly in respect to those who are vulnerable.
“This new scheme was launched prior to but in the wake of a challenging report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Service (HMICFRS) and will add another layer of scrutiny to ensure we fully meet our legal obligations and improve the safety of vulnerable detainees in the future.
“So far, the scheme has been very successful and the Constabulary has appreciated the feedback which will no doubt help to improve standards. The new scheme will run alongside the current ICV operation and will provide further reassurance to the public that we take our safeguarding responsibilities extremely seriously.
A report outlining the findings of the volunteers will be prepared monthly and shared internally with key staff and Force personnel. A twice-yearly report will also be produced for presentation to the Strategic Priorities Assurance (SPA) board and will be available for public inspection.
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Posted on Wednesday 28th November 2018