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RQIA’s Chair Welcomes Publication of Report on Police Custody Arrangements

Christine Collins MBE, RQIA’s Interim Chair, has welcomed the publication of the finding of the joint RQIA- CJI inspection of police custody suites across Northern Ireland.

Christine Collins said: “This report is an example of the ongoing cooperation between RQIA and CJI in supporting improvements to health and social care in criminal justice settings. I commend the commitment and enthusiasm of all those who have worked together, from the police, CJI, and RQIA, to bring this report to fruition.

I welcome the significant improvements in governance and strategic management since our last joint inspection in 2016. These have had a direct and positive impact on outcomes for those detained in police custody suites. In particular, I applaud the introduction of the nurse-led model of health care at Musgrave custody suite in Belfast, the result of a partnership between the PSNI, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and Public Health Agency. This initiative ensures that health care provision, when people are at their most vulnerable, is readily available and of high quality.

I would strongly encourage the adoption of this approach across Northern Ireland. This, along with the implementation of the recommendations from the report, will support improvement in police custody arrangements across Northern Ireland.

RQIA inspectors were most impressed by the knowledge and commitment of custody officers in dealing with people with complex mental health issues, but recognised their need for professional mental health input. Our inspection also highlighted concerns around “looked after” children in custody. A joint PSNI and HSC trust approach to improve arrangements for this most vulnerable group of children must be a high priority.