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Annual update on the Custody of Vulnerable Persons (Young Persons, Children and Mental Health)

Joint Report of the Commissioner of Police and the Town Clerk


The Committee received a joint report of the Commissioner of Police and the Town Clerk that provided an update on the Custody of Vulnerable Persons.


The Chairman stated his dissatisfaction of the presentation of graphs which, when viewed in black and white in the hard copy of the agenda pack, were unclear. (2)


The Assistant Commissioner provided a verbal summary of the report content to Members, and explained that there was a substantial amount of detail in the report, with significant reference to mental health work, noting a rise in reported incidents involving mental health in the period from April 2016 to March 2017.


The Assistant Commissioner made a reference to paragraph 27, in which 4 young persons remained in Police custody when the local authority was unable to provide them with accommodation, and clarified that this was an example of a common issue taking place across all of London, not just within the City.  The Chairman requested feedback on the status of the recovery of costs from the relevant local authority to the CoLP for overnight detention of these individuals. (6)


The Assistant Commissioner noted that there had been a rise in incidents involving the use of force. This was owing to the fact that handcuffs were applied at the scene rather than in the custody suite itself.  He explained to Members that the decision to use handcuffs was as a result of a dynamic risk assessment at the time of the arrest / detention of the individual and dependent upon the officer’s discretion.  A Member noted that the figures were significantly higher as a percentage than those of other Forces used for comparison.  The Assistant Commissioner explained that although CoLP showed a high percentage in the use of handcuffs, there had not been any rise in complaints made as a result of this, which would usually be seen as strong indicators of any problematic conduct issues.  The Chairman of Professional Standards & Integrity Sub-Committee suggested that this might be an area relevant for the Sub-Committee. (1, Dec 2017)


A Member asked for further clarification of the figures for number of detainees as represented in Appendix 3, suggesting that they were in contradiction to those portrayed in the ADR. (7)


A Member requested confirmation that the City of London Corporation had signed The Concordat for Children in Custody.  The Town Clerk agreed to follow this up. (8)


A Member requested information on the use of Tasers on under-18s, and how this was being recorded.  The Assistant Commissioner explained that this was not covered by the report as the report was about detention, but would source an update for Members. He suggested that this also may be an area of focus for the Professional Standards & Integrity Sub-Committee. (9)


In reference to paragraph 44, A Member asked where the funding for the “street triage” system that was being piloted would be sourced from. The Commissioner agreed to follow this up and report back to Members. (10)


The Chairman noted that the graph in Appendix 1 was incomplete, with an arrow leading off the printed area, and asked if this could be rectified and re-circulated. (11)


In reference to paragraph 13, which describes the use of “the bubble” in the detainment of children and vulnerable people, the Deputy Chairman stated there was a need to look at improved custody options when the final refurbishments or upgrades under the accommodation programme take place.  The Assistant Commissioner agreed that this was already a consideration but would ensure that the Deputy Chairman’s comments were fed in to the Programme Director.


The Chairman noted the presence of “Not Known” results in the table within Appendix 4, corresponding to Reason for a police vehicle being used and Method of transportation to first place of safety.  He explained that it was disappointing to see these but they were almost certainly as a result of the form not being filled in correctly and that the Force was trying to address this with first line supervision.  In reference to Figure 10 of Appendix 2, a Member explained that the high number assigned to the category “Other” was unhelpful. However, it was noted that this was a Home Office category not a Force category.


RESOLVED – That the report be received.


Supporting documents:


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