The aim of this seminar it to provide feedback to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) from a recent study comparing two police custody suites, one of which is in the MPS Area. This study examined police custody from start to finish, considering who works there and what it is like for them and for the suspects who are detained there. A key focus of the study was the civilianization and privatization of police custody. Consequently, data were collected in the custody suite in the MPS, which was staffed by police officers and non-warranted civilians (designated detention officers), as well as in a custody suite in a different police service area, which had been refurbished and was managed and largely staffed by a private security company as part of a public-finance initiative. The seminar will provide a ‘flavour’ of the findings from the study, exploring conditions in police custody; staff and suspect experiences of working or being detained there; suspect access to their rights and entitlements; police and police staff roles and responsibilities and relationships with each other and with suspects; relationships between the police and other key criminal justice practitioners such as drug legal advisors, medical staff, appropriate adults and drug workers. To conclude, we will examine what can be learned from the study about improving police custody practices.
I have also organised an 'author meets critics' panel at the British Society of Criminology Conference 4-6 July at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle. The 'critics' are Professor David Dixon, University of New South Wales; Dr Megan O'Neill, University of Salford; and Professor Robert Reiner, London School of Economics. They will each offer their comments and critical reflections on my book, Police Custody: Governance, legitimacy and reform in the criminal justice process.