Lancashire custody inspection 'disappointing', report finds

Lancashire Police headquarters Image copyright Google
Image caption Inspectors praised mental health support in Lancashire Police's custody suites

Children and adults with mental health problems are being held in custody for too long by Lancashire Police, a report said.

An inspection of custody suites in May and June found most issues identified previously had "drifted or got worse".

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said it was "disappointing" that only a fifth of its recommendations had been achieved.

Lancashire Police said it would "strive" to "learn and improve".

The HMIC report identified a number of failures following unannounced inspections at Blackpool, Blackburn, Preston, Lancaster and Burnley.

Inspectors found there was no policy over how force was used in the custody suites and monitoring was "limited".

And CCTV coverage in cells was still not pixellated, meaning detainees had no privacy when using the toilet.

But the report praised mental health support as "particularly good" and praised staff for their "courteous and professional manner with detainees".

The inspection, the second in Lancashire, was part of a national programme looking at strategy, treatment and conditions, individual rights and health care.

HMIC said: This was a disappointing inspection. The force had failed to build on the progress we identified previously.

"With generally good treatment of detainees and mostly reasonable conditions, the fundamental building blocks remained intact. However, there was a clear need for the force to develop."

A Lancashire Police spokesman said the force was committed to ensuring that "everyone who comes into our custody is treated with courtesy and respect" and had developed new IT and CCTV systems to address concerns.

"Whilst we have previously accepted there are issues around our ability to monitor "use of force" data (resolved via the new system), we do not believe our staff in general use force itself in a disproportionate manner."

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