An inspection of the custody centres in Aberdeen, Fraserburgh and Elgin highlights that individuals are only detained when it is absolutely necessary, and found that detention was appropriately authorised in all cases reviewed.
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland commended the professional approach of custody staff who made well informed decisions to determine if detention was required and reduced the time detainees spend in custody.
“This approach was facilitated by legislation and became more relevant when restrictions were introduced to limit the spread of Covid 19,” said Gill Imery, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland.
“The reduction, in the past year, in the total number of people detained can be partly attributed to the pandemic but also to Police Scotland’s positive approach to divert people away from custody through working more closely with partners to address reoffending by tackling the underlying causes and referring people to a range of services.”
Mrs Imery added: “Police custody is a high risk area of policing business and, as such, has been subject to considerable scrutiny by HMICS since Police Scotland was established with nine inspection reports being published.
“Police Scotland has made considerable progress in implementing recommendations and improvement actions in respect of custody services and are actively working to address those that remain outstanding.”
Staff working at the custody centre in Fraserburgh were found to be professional and respectful towards detainees. The physical condition of the custody buildings varied, but Fraserburgh has benefitted from a recent refit. And while healthcare professionals are not based at Fraserburgh, suitable arrangements were found to be in place for healthcare provision.
However, there are a number of vacancies for permanent staff at each of the custody centres, with a reliance on local policing to fill the gaps.