Mystery shoppers brought in to test food in police cells

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Mystery shoppers have been brought in to check on meals provided to people under arrest and in the custody of Notts Police.

The shoppers and independent custody visitors put their taste buds to work in a foodie sleuthing session at the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

The volunteers, whose roles involve reporting back to Commissioner Paddy Tipping, were joined by deputy commissioner Chris Cutland.

She said: “Custody suites are not a restaurant so we are not looking for haute cuisine, but we do want to make sure that the quality of food provided is acceptable.”

“While we are not in the business of providing food to meet personal preferences, it is important to ensure that people in police custody are offered a choice of meals - not just to suit different preferences but also to meet particular dietary, religious or cultural requirements.”

“This kind of exercise is a measure of our volunteers’ efforts to ensure that detainees are being well looked after. Findings from the food-tastings will be carefully considered and if the choice of meals is found to be inadequate the next step will be to make appropriate changes.”

Around ten different meals were on the menu. The choices offered in Notts’ custody suites include vegetarian, vegan, Halal food and gluten-free. There is also a selection of food for people with allergies to ingredients.

Volunteer manager, Jackie Nash, said: “The ICVs are often told by detainees that they refuse custody food or that they leave it because they don’t like it. The food provided is a selection of microwave meals and there should be a choice of food for all dietary requirements.”