Police Law Blog European Decisions Statutory Materials

National Strategy for Police Custody

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