The Faculty of Forensic & Legal Medicine (FFLM) welcomes the announcement of an Independent Review of Police Custody Deaths in England and Wales announced by the Home Secretary, Theresa May. The FFLM is the Home Office approved institution that sets the standards of healthcare professionals involved in the care of the many vulnerable individuals detained in police custody. In particular, the FFLM believes that it is essential that the review must closely examine the current variable nature of healthcare professionals working in this field and the need for appropriate qualifications and training for such healthcare professionals which have been defined by the FFLM, in partnership with the United Kingdom Association of Forensic Nurses and the College of Paramedics.
The review is very timely and should examine these matters in the light of the imminent transfer of responsibility of custodial care from the Home Office to the National Health Service. The FFLM is concerned that an already degraded healthcare system may worsen, rather than improve unless a realistic assessment of the needs of this vulnerable patient group are properly addressed and funded.
The FFLM considers that the proposed review is an ideal opportunity to raise the support for a system of healthcare in police custody which will reduce the risks of serious untoward events and avoidable deaths.
The FFLM welcomes the opportunity to assist the review.