Avon and Somerset Police custody suite updates 'run down'

The slow rate of improvements to police custody suites in the Bristol and Somerset areas has been criticised by a prison watchdog.

The Chief Inspector of Prisons has raised concerns at the "run-down" condition of some centres run by Avon and Somerset Police.

The report was based on an unannounced visit in the summer.

Police commissioner Sue Mountstevens said the force was currently modernising its facilities.

The report - compiled by Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick and Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary Drusilla Sharpling - was a follow up to a previous inspection in 2010.

'Treated respectfully'

The inspectors visited 10 full-time suites including Bristol's Trinity Road, Southmead Road and Staple Hill.

The report criticised the "run-down condition" of the custody suites and also said there was no effective monitoring of the use of force.

But the report did find that detainees were treated respectfully and in a professional manner and that the use of cells to detain people under the Mental Health Act had reduced.

Ms Mountstevens added: "The report has highlighted what we have recognised, for some time and the very reason we embarked on private finance initiative to modernise our estate, particularly custody.

"Our custody facilities will be updated over the next 18 months and this will speed up processes for police staff and centralise custody provision making it more efficient."

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