Concerns raised over police cell safety

PUBLISHED: 13:00 23 January 2011

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WORK is needed to improve prisoner safety in cells at Weston Police Station, a new report has shown.

A review o10 custody facilities run by Avon and Somerset Constabulary says improvements are needed in a number of areas.

Although the report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons has highlighted some positives in the area, it is also demanding an action plan to tackle problems.

Concerns highlighted by inspectors include ‘multiple’ ligature points in most cells, the poor physical state of cells, ‘mixed’ arrangements for handling people with mental health problems – and ‘inadequate’ monitoring of use of force.

Acknowledged positives included thorough risk assessments on arrival and good health provision.

Praise was also forthcoming for the force’s plans to build a new custody suite in Bridgwater, which will handle detainees previously booked into the 12 cells at Weston station.

Inspectors said: “This inspection identified some positive aspects of custody provision in Avon and Somerset.

“However, this report sets out a number of recommendations that we believe will assist the Chief Constable and Police Authority to improve the quality of custody provision.

“We expect them to consider these in the wider context of force priorities and resourcing, and to provide us with an action plan in due course.”

In the past year, some 46,112 people have been detained at Avon and Somerset’s 130 cells.

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