Improvements needed in police custody suites in South Yorkshire

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Police chiefs in South Yorkshire need to make improvements to custody procedures, according to inspectors.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies visited South Yorkshire to assess its custody suites and procedures and recorded improvements had been made since the last inspection but that more needs to be on improving risk assessments.

The HMIC inspectors visited custody suites across and recorded ‘clear lines of accountability in the leadership and management of custody supported by forums and structures in which custody issues were addressed’.

They also said they were pleased at the force’s plan to create a multi- million pound custody centre in Sheffield to replace aging facilities.

Inspectors also described police staff as ‘polite’, said interactions between most detainees and staff were ‘courteous’ and detainees said they were well looked after.

They also found cells clean and free from graffiti.

But they said they were concerned at the process for the collection and analysis of custody data and management information.

They said most forces have a computerised custody system, but South Yorkshire had a mixed record-keeping system including handwritten records, many of which were in part illegible.

Inspectors also found that some restraint techniques used in custody were ‘disproportionate, potentially unsafe and poorly supervised’.

The report said: “This report provides a number of recommendations to assist the force and the Police and Crime Commissioner 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.”