The National Police Chiefs Council has published the National Strategy for Police Custody.
It sets out six strategic principles, being: (page 5)
– Detention in Police Custody is safe and used only when necessary, not punitively;
– Custody supports effective investigation of crime and adds value to the criminal justice system;
– The custody experience is non-discriminatory and transparent;
– Custody practitioners are professionals in their field, trained to a national minimum standard and accountable;
– Custody practice is ethical and evolves, reflective of changing demands, best practice, learning from previous failings;
– Engagement with partners is effective and efficient in the support of the investigation of crime.
Matters of particular interest for practitioners that the National Strategy states are:
– The primary purpose of custody is for the purpose of investigation. Detention must be necessary. It must never be for ease of operation, convenience or punishment: page 3.
– Detention in police custody due to lack of alternative provision by local authorities or health care provides should be minimised: page 3.
– Police custody is not always the appropriate response, for example, for children or vulnerable people: page 4.
– Custody should be used for children only as a last resort: page 7.
– The use of police custody for Mental Health Act detentions should be eliminated: page 7.
– The incidents and length of pre-charge bail should be reduced: page 9.
The full strategy is available on the NPCC website, here.