An inspection into custody suites run by Humberside Police in North and North East Lincolnshire found little overall improvements by the force.
An unannounced inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) in October 2017 found that although progress had been made by the force “overall improvement was limited”.
HMIC found that detainees at cells in Grimsby, Scunthorpe, Hull and Bridlington were generally treated well and that improvements had been made to avoid taking in people with mental health problems.
But the report found concerns with a number of ligature points in custody suites which posed a risk to detainees, and improvements needed to services to support children and vulnerable adults while in custody.
The report also highlighted concerns around the reliance on frontline staff in custody suites.
The HMIC report said: “There were different working practices among custody officers and a reliance on frontline officers to ensure sufficient staffing levels in the custody suites. This potentially led to inconsistent outcomes for detainees.”
Recommendations were made to take immediate action to “remove or manage” the ligature points and to improve support for children and vulnerable adults brought into custody.
The report noted that a brand new 36-cell custody suite to combine both Grimsby and Scunthorpe cells is due to open on Birchin Way in Grimsby, in 2019.
The inspection was the first carried out by HMIC on police custody in Humberside since 2012.
Assistant Chief Constable Scott Young said: “We fully accept the findings of the report and are pleased that the HMIC has recognised the significant progress we have made in preventing those detained under the mental health act from coming into custody, instead ensuring that they are taken to places of safety and given the care of medical professionals.
“Our teams are focused on identifying vulnerable people and keeping them – and children away – from custody. We work closely with our partners across the area to make these individuals do not end up being detained wherever possible and that they are instead given the support they need.
“We are also pleased that the inspectors found that our treatment of all detainees – including those who are said to be challenging – is respectful and well managed.
“We acknowledge that there were some areas which fell below the standard we would want to provide. This is being addressed through improved ongoing training for all our staff and we will continue to build on the progress we have made.
“There is always scope to improve and we continually strive to deliver the best service we can for the people in the Humberside Police area.
“Further improvements will come as a result of the force’s biggest ever recruitment drive, which will see an increase of 300 new officers over an 18 month period. This will make a huge difference to us in terms of ensuring we have the right people in the right places.
“A new purpose-built custody facility is being built on the south bank to replace the older provision we currently have in Grimsby and Scunthorpe – which is coming to the end of its operational use.
“The new 36 cell suite, which will be built at Birchin Way in Grimsby, will become operational in early 2019 and will ensure that we have the very best, modern facilities to process prisoners, meet the needs of the criminal justice system and bring justice to victims.”