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Control of custody suites heading back into force hands

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Running its own services again gives Thames Valley chance to 'standardise processes'.

In the pink: Change of emphasis with, from the left, Sergeant Dave Williams, Superintendent Katy Barrow-Grint, former Chief Inspector Dave Cherrington, Inspector Dave Entwistle

In the pink: Change of emphasis with, from the left, Sergeant Dave Williams, Superintendent Katy Barrow-Grint, former Chief Inspector Dave Cherrington, Inspector Dave Entwistle

Date - 27th November 2018
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle


A force’s risk assessment of custodial services has prompted it to make a “big decision” and bring them back in-house next year.

Thames Valley Police will reclaim the operation of its eight custody suites from service delivery company Noonan when the current contract ends on March 31.

The chief constable’s management team is confident a close-working relationship with the current provider over the coming months will ensure a “smooth transition” of services.

Detention officers will return to being force employees in line with The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006.

TUPE Regulations ensure that an employee’s rights and obligations under their current contract of employment are transferred to the receiving company.

Force head of criminal justice Superintendent Katy Barrow-Grint said: “Bringing our custodial services in-house is a big decision for the force and it will require a lot of work to deliver this by the end of March 2019.

“I believe that the change will provide us with the opportunity to standardise our processes and procedures across our custody suites and enable us to respond to national and local changes.”

Police and crime commissioner Anthony Stansfeld added: “This is an important decision that will ensure value for money for local taxpayers as well enabling Thames Valley Police to operate the most effective custody service, keeping the public and detainees safe.”

In August, the force announced it had decided to trial a new colour scheme at one of its custody suites to make it a “less threatening environment” for children being held in detention.

Transforming the walls of an Abingdon cell, from white to pink, was based on an original idea from the force’s former lead for custody, Chief Inspector Dave Cherrington and which followed recommendations from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.

The newly-painted cell custody suite was named ‘Cherrington’s Cell’ in honour of the officer who gave 30 years’ service to Thames Valley.

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How is that going to work?

Staff get TUPE’d back on private sector terms and conditions, then TVP go out to recruitment for new posts whom will probably be offered better terms and conditions?

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I don't believe custodies should ever be operated by an external private corporation. I used to attend a custody quite often that went over to G4S and the morale was rock bottom when that firm took over, worse still the custody staff had these awful, garish logos on their eppaulettes that just left this unpleasant corporate look to everything... It was as if G4S went out of their way to brand everything with their insidious logo, putting a huge sign directly behind the custody desk... Awful. 

This is where my opinion differs to most though, there is a difference between non-profit or corporate organisations operating their own constabulary with all of the safeguards and protections in place that would bring (BTP is kinda an example of this along with Dover Port Police more so) to some security firm coming in running things as cheaply as possible with rubbish terms and conditions of employ... There is pride that can be taken in working for the police, that force logo and the crown actually represents something more than just a corporations balance sheet, it represents the decency and standards we should all aspire to.



Edited by Radman
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