Police custody in Barnet - HMIP Inspection

MQT on 2014-02-26
Session date: 
February 26, 2014
Question By: 
Caroline Pidgeon
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


A report of an unannounced inspection of police custody in Barnet was published on 5 February 2014. What actions are you taking to address its findings, in particular that "strategic oversight was poor and there was a lack of senior management oversight of the custody facility" and concerns about the use of custody as a place of safety under the Mental Health Act?


Answer for Police custody in Barnet - HMIP Inspection

Answer for Police custody in Barnet - HMIP Inspection

Answered By: 
The Mayor

In line with current practice, MOPAC officers have reviewed the recommendations and liased with the Custody Manager and the recommendations will be considered at the next meeting of the Independent Custody Visitors (ICV) Panel.

Barnet OCU has responded to each recommendation in the HMIC report and has an action plan in place.  Progress against the action plan is monitored by the MPS and reviewed by the ICV Panel.

Strategic oversight of custody on the borough has been strengthened, e.g. documented and recorded checks by custody staff and Senior officers have been introduced, focusing on key areas of risk.  In January 2014, 5 of these were documented compared to less than 1 a month identified by the HMIC in August 2013.

The borough is collating data to identify the occasions when custody is used as place of safety.  These occasions will be discussed with the Mental Health Trust through regular meetings.

The creation of the new MPS Detention Operational Command Unit (OCU) will enable greater accountability and opportunities to share learning and best practice across the MPS.  MOPAC  officers are working with the MPS to ensure the the overarching governance structure is aligned with the new OCU.