Reducing Offending and Safer Custody Branch as part of District Policing aims to keep people safe through the delivery of safer detention while also working to reduce vulnerability and offending.
There are currently 11 custody suites across Northern Ireland, which are continuously updated and renovated to ensure compliance with safer custody principles and associated codes of practice.
During 2015 there were 26,886 detentions recorded in PSNI custody.
The custody function is delivered by team of trained police custody officers; civilian detention officers, healthcare professionals, contract cleaners and other police staff. Additional support for those detained in police custody is available through initiatives such as; Appropriate Adults, Interpreters, Register Intermediaries and the Northern Ireland Policing Board’s Independent Custody Visitors Scheme.
There are significant challenges facing the delivery and maintenance of safer custody and in particular in addressing the complex needs of vulnerable people and their well-being while in custody. Work is ongoing with Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and other criminal justice agencies to explore future custody healthcare provision and secure appropriate referral pathways from custody.