Friday, 29 May 2009

The Pre-Release-Risk Assessment

I received an e-mail from Head Quarters this morning, advising me that before a detainee is released from police custody, Sergeants must now conduct a 'Pre-release risk-assessment.' They have a set of questions that they must read out to ensure that the detainee won't come to harm after they leave the police station. These also include observations on matters such as their clothing. 'Why is that Mr Hobbes', I hear you ask? Well, when they were arrested it might have been nice and sunny outside, but the weather has since turned inclement during their confinement.

So, if they're wearing a t-shirt and shorts and it's now raining, the Custody Sergeant has to ask them how far they have to travel, if they have enough money, and if they are likely to get a bit of a cold if made to walk home. If there is the remote risk they may get a sniffle, a police vehicle will pick them up and take them directly to their door. I have suggested to the Custody Sergeants that they pay for the detainees taxi home and to apologise for any inconvenience being arrested may have caused them, but was politely told,"With respect Sir, f*ck off."

I was only trying to lift their spirits.

Finally, it has been brought to the Chief Constable's attention that Custody Sergeants do not ask intrusive or probing questions as part of their booking-in risk assessment, which I suppose we can now refer to as the 'booking-in pre-pre-release risk assessment', (I wonder how long it will be before Officers have to conduct a 'pre-arrest pre-booking-in pre-pre-release risk assessment). It was felt that some detainees may not volunteer information to the Custody Sergeant about any ailments, conditions or illnesses they may have because they could be too embarrassed to mention it.

This is now the fault of the Custody Sergeant, because they didn't ask the detainee the right question that would have made the detainee feel comfortable about revealing what they are embarrassed about, but which they are too embarrassed to talk about if not asked and which, I presume, they desperately hope they are never asked about because it's a very embarrassing thing for people to know.
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