Police custody delivery in the twenty-first century in England and Wales

Current arrangements and their implications for patterns of policing

authors Layla Skinns
  Amy Sprawson
  Angela Sorsby
  Rivka Smith
  Andrew Wooff
journal EJPS (ISSN: 2034-760X)
volume Volume 4
issue Issue 3
section Articles
date of publication May 5, 2017
language English
pagina 325
keywords civilianization, police, privatization, patterns of policing, police custody

Since the 1980s, police custody in England and Wales has experienced civilianization and privatization of roles once performed by the police. The purposes of this paper are to explore these organisational arrangements and to reflect on what they reveal about patterns of policing in the 21st century. These matters are examined using a unique 2014 survey of custody managers who provided data on 213 suites across 41 police forces in England and Wales, and the Isle of Man. Findings are presented on the extent of civilianization and privatization of custody suites, the conditions of the suites in terms of their busyness and whether they were seen as ‘fit for purpose’ by staff, as well as on the most common types of custody suites and their features. These findings show that whilst civilianization was common-place, privatization was not; over two-thirds of custody suites were owned, managed and staffed by police officers or civilian detention officers employed by the police. As such, the research does not support the idea that there has been a transformation of policing, at least not with respect to who owns, manages and/or staffs custody suites in England and Wales, where the police still have a monopoly.

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