Custody services in a COVID-19 environment

Published on: 20 April 2021


In March 2020, we suspended all inspection work so that police forces, and fire and rescue services could focus on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our inspection took a snapshot of policing during the pandemic and looked at what happened from March to November 2020.

Our inspection assessed how policing:

  • understood and prepared for the potential and actual impact of the pandemic;
  • responded initially, and continues to respond, to the pandemic; and
  • is evaluating its response to the pandemic, establishing what is and is not working and using this to shape how the police service operates.

Our report Policing in the pandemic: The police response to the COVID-19 pandemic was published in April 2021.

This report supplements the wider inspection with more detailed findings on how custody services operated in a COVID-19 environment. It aims to:

  • increase the police service’s national and local understanding of how custody services operate in a COVID-19 environment;
  • show how services have been/are affected and how police forces are responding; and
  • establish what improvements forces and the wider Criminal Justice System can make.

This report sets out our findings.

Get the report

Custody services in a COVID-19 environment (HTML) Custody services in a COVID-19 environment (PDF document)

Get the press release

Police generally responded well to exceptional circumstances of pandemic

Get the police and crime commissioners' responses to the report

Devon and Cornwall PCC’s response

Dyfed-Powys PCC’s response

Gwent PCC’s response (PDF document)

Nottinghamshire PCC’s response (PDF document)

Suffolk PCC’s response

Surrey PCC’s response

Find out why we publish PCC responses.

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