Lincolnshire Police hit back at damning government custody report

Lincolnshire Police have rejected a government report which criticises the force for how it deals with detainees in custody.

A police custody report published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) on February 19 has ranked the force overall as ‘requires improvement’ following an unannounced inspection in 2015.

The findings suggest no improvement in how the force processes up to 15,000 people each year through custody compared to the 2011 inspection.

The report highlighted the case of a 16-year-old girl who was left naked in a cell for 10 minutes after threatening to self-harm.

Inspectors also noted a separate incident which saw a taser being drawn in the custody suite during the assessment.

Deputy Chief Constable Heather Roach said that she was “disappointed with the findings of the inspection”, and wrote to HMIC when the draft report was leaked.

She said: “I was particularly concerned at their mention of a 16-year-old girl being left naked in a cell.

“The fact of this case is that the custody officers were concerned that she would harm herself and decided that she needed to be given an anti-rip suit. Due to the first suit being the wrong size, another was produced within minutes.

“The way the report is worded implies that we were neglectful and I reject that contention. We were particularly concerned for her safety and mental state.”

Deputy Chief Constable Roach also challenged the criticisms of the taser use, stating that it was acknowledged as being appropriate and proportionate in the circumstances.

She questioned other findings of the report, which questioned Lincolnshire Police’s excessive removal of detainees’ clothing, and poor medicine management.

She added: “Detainees are invariably stressed due to their arrest and, in general terms, are unknown quantities so the removal of any potential ligatures is a sensible option and a practice that has been successful at reducing the harm to prisoners.

“All our policies are being reviewed but I have requested specific details of where the Inspectorate think there are potential risks and continuing poor practice.”