We were appointed by Place Partnership to carry out quarterly and annual inspections of the custody suites across seven West Mercia and Warwickshire police forces. These inspections considered the condition of the suites, particularly the cells, with a view to ensuring they were being kept in a suitable condition and well maintained. The main focus was from a Health and Safety perspective to help mitigate any risks to people in custody (PICs). Our inspections were carried out against the College of Policing guidance.
Our role was to carry out the inspections alongside the Facilities Manager and Custody Sergeant and produce reports containing a RAG rating for any issues identified, details of each issue and agreed course of action. In subsequent visits, we would review previous reports on site to make sure all identified issues had been picked up and agreed actions taken.
We also advised the client on any issues that posed potential ligature risks. During our inspections, we identified that a number of the custody suites were built out of a Corian system which had expired and were beginning to crack. Remedial works for this were not straightforward due to the nature of the material and, in some cases, cells needed to be closed as potential ligature points had formed.
Working in live custody sites required careful planning to ensure that it was appropriate to enter the areas scheduled for inspection, so we maintained regular communication with the Facilities Manager and Custody Sergeant throughout.