HMICS Custody Inspection Report – Lanarkshire

20 April 2023

The aim of this inspection, undertaken jointly by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) and Health Improvement Scotland (HIS), was to assess the treatment of, and conditions for, individuals detained in the primary police custody centres of Motherwell and Coatbridge, which serve the Lanarkshire region. The inspection report outlines issues that are common to both custody centres and highlights differences between them where these occur.

This report differs from previous custody inspection reports as it is the first to provide a detailed analysis of the provision of healthcare in the custody centres and make recommendations for both Police Scotland and the NHS Board. It is the first of two onsite custody inspections agreed by scrutiny partners to inform planning for future joint custody inspections.

The report outlines key findings which describe positive practice that we found during our inspection and makes recommendations that aim to improve custody services and the provision of healthcare in order to achieve better outcomes for people in police custody.




Police Scotland should make arrangements to improve the observation room and its facilities within the police custody centre at Motherwell.


Police Scotland should ensure that a full evacuation of custody centres is undertaken in accordance with fire safety regulations.


Police Scotland should ensure that processes for recording cell checks are carried out consistently and recorded on the national custody system timeously.


Police Scotland should ensure that custody staff receive regular custody update training / awareness raising relating to substance abuse issues, mental health, trauma informed care and undertaking detainee observations.


NHS Lanarkshire should ensure that medical staff working within custody centres are trained in relevant human rights protocols.


NHS Lanarkshire and COMS should provide refresher training for staff on how to identify and manage an adverse event and on the use of Datix system.


NHS Lanarkshire, COMS and Police Scotland should record and monitor patient transfers from custody to hospital and produce management reports on the impact of this to inform service planning and delivery.


Police Scotland should ensure that environmental cleaning standards are maintained within medical rooms in line with clinical standards.


The custody centres should ensure that suitable cleaning products are available within the centres, which meet the required health and safety standards for the task.


NHS Lanarkshire must ensure that all sharps bins have fully completed labels to ensure safe waste management.


NHS Lanarkshire and COMS must ensure that a procedure is in place to regularly monitor and replenish emergency bags and ensure that they only contain equipment that people are trained to use, which is specific to Basic Life Support and Immediate Life Support.


NHS Lanarkshire must obtain a controlled drugs license to meet its legal obligation for the storage and supply of controlled drugs.


Police Scotland should ensure that safe and lockable storage is available and used consistently for controlled drugs brought in by detainees.


NHS Lanarkshire must ensure that detainees receive their OST treatment as prescribed when transferring to court or on liberation from custody.


Police Scotland should ensure that Naloxone is available within custody centres and that it can be administered during times when healthcare professionals are not available.

Publication type: 
Inspection report