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Police custody care has ‘deteriorated considerably’

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

A recent inspection by HM Inspectorate of Prisons found that the care of people arrested by Cumbria Police has “deteriorated considerably”. The report made some worrying findings, including the fact that mental health assessments and support for young people and vulnerable adults was not always given quickly enough to those in custody. Cumbria Police Criminal Justice Unit Ch Insp Gordon Rutherford said that the force has already started to address these concerns.

Aside from custody care concerns, the report also found Cumbria Police to be struggling with some serious administration problems. Cumbria Police stated that their administration problems were more of an issue than the care concerns, which have already undergone some “significant improvements”.

Mentally ill kept in police custody as ‘a place of safety’

The unannounced inspection was carried out in June, which discovered that the care of those in custody was “reasonable”, but fell below safe levels when the cells were busy. In several cases noted in the report, social workers were not actually available to make the necessary referrals before an “appropriate adult” could be allocated to detained children. It also found that a fairly high number of mentally ill people were being kept in police custody cells simply as ‘a place of safety’.

Ch Insp Rutherford stated: “We’re confident that we will address all the areas for improvement that have been highlighted.”

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