Joint Inspection Update

April 2012

Our ongoing updates on the national programme of HMIP & HMIC joint inspections of police custody continue with feedback on visits to Sutton and Lincolnshire. For the first time, we also feature a report from a follow up inspection at Cambridgeshire.


Police custody provision in Sutton was well managed, with properly trained staff and strong partnership working arrangements.

Nick Hardwick and Dru Sharpling said:

“Overall, custody provision in Sutton was commendable. This report sets out a small number of recommendations that we hope will assist the MPS and MPA to improve provision still further. We expect our findings to be considered in the wider context of priorities and resourcing, and for an action plan to be provided in due course.”


Police custody facilities in Lincolnshire needed more strategic focus, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, and Dru Sharpling, HM Inspector of Constabulary, following the inspection which covered five custody suites serving Lincoln, Skegness, Boston, Grantham and Spalding.

The Inspectors commented:

“Overall, this is a disappointing inspection. It came at a time when the force was undergoing significant change, which perhaps helped explain why we identified continued failings that had been previously identified by other external bodies. More strategic emphasis on custody was required, with particular attention to improving risk assessment and mental health services.”


Inspectors returned to Cambridgeshire in Summer 2011, following a previous critical inspection in 2008, covering six custody suites serving Peterborough, Huntingdon, Cambridge, March, Ely and St Neots, as well as King’s Lynn in Norfolk, whose cells could be used by Cambridgeshire Police.

There had been a great deal of work done strategically to address previous findings and much effort had been made to improve the standard of the custody estate, including safety, general cleanliness and managing graffiti. Nick Hardwick and Dru Sharpling said:

“Overall, provision of police custody in Cambridgeshire was much improved from our previous inspection and, in particular, we noted a much more positive staff culture focused on the welfare of detainees and far more respectful and decent custody facilities. The main weaknesses related to staffing and management arrangements, together with a need for still further improvements to the support for detainees with mental health problems. Notwithstanding the many current challenges facing all police forces, we hope this report will help Cambridgeshire Constabulary and the Police and Crime Commissioners to resolve our remaining concerns and further develop provision.”

These are just some examples of recent inspections. Copies of all joint inspection police custody reports can be read in full at