Concerns raised over CCTV systems at Mansfield Police station’s custody suite

INSPECTORS found problems with CCTV systems and inconsistencies in procedures when they made an unannounced visit to Mansfield Police Station’s custody suite.

Prison and police watchdogs also said quality checks were minimal at the Great Central Road station’s cell unit.

HM Inspectorate of Prisons and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary published their joint review of all Nottinghamshire Police’s custody suites last week.

The inspectors said overall the quality of custody suites across the county was poor.

Changes have already been made and senior officers at Nottinghamshire Police pointed to positives, including the good conduct of staff.

At Mansfield’s 72-cell unit the visits uncovered “unsatisfactory” CCTV coverage, which the force was already addressing.

They also recorded a “chaotic” shift handover, with too many staff behind a booking desk at one time.

Overall across the force there was confusion among custody staff thanks to ‘convoluted’ management arrangements.

Summarising its recommendations, the report read: “The quality and consistency of initial risk assessments should be improved to ensure the safety of detainees.”

Inspectors praised the approach of staff at Mansfield, who have an ‘excellent’ working relationship with mental health services staff.

There was also a generally good relationship between staff and detainees and good access to services to help those with drug abuse issues.

An independent custody visitors scheme was also highlighted.

The inspections took place between 30th August and 2nd September 2011 but the results were only made public last week.

Following the report Assistant Chief Constable Paul Broadbent said the force was “disappointed” but accepted the findings.

He added: “I was however disappointed with the grading of ‘poor’ taking full account of the fact that it was also recognised there was appropriate balance between progressing cases and the rights of individuals, arrangements for providing appropriate adults were good, health care provision was good and drug misuse services sound.

“We have ensured our management plans, which were already in existence, are now more easily accessible.

“We have also provided additional training to staff around the areas of risk management, while improvements to CCTV were already being put in place at the time of the inspection.”