HMICS Custody Inspection Report - Fife

28 March 2024

The aim of this inspection, undertaken jointly by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) and Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS), was to assess the treatment of, and conditions for, individuals detained in the police custody centres at Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy, which serve Fife.

This is the fourth joint custody inspection undertaken by the scrutiny bodies. The report provides an analysis of the quality of custody centre operations as well as the provision of healthcare services in the custody centres. It makes recommendations for both Police Scotland and the Health and Social Care Partnership responsible for the provision of healthcare at the custody centres.

The report outlines key findings identified 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 create a secure holding area for detainees at the custody centres.


Police Scotland should examine options to create a more effective charge bar at Dunfermline custody centre to improve booking-in processes, engagement with detainees and mitigate risks.


Police Scotland should make improvements to the location of the CCTV viewing facilities at the centres to reduce the likelihood of distraction.


Police Scotland should take steps to either remove or make safe floor level air vents in cells at the Dunfermline custody centre, which in their current state present a ligature risk.


Police Scotland should ensure that risk is correctly evaluated, addressed and recorded to ensure a clear correlation between risk assessment and care plans.


Police Scotland should ensure that improvements are made to the quality and consistency of record keeping at the centres.


Police Scotland should examine the potential for shower installation at the centres to provide appropriate washing facilities for detainees.


NHS Lothian should ensure that information about how to make a complaint is visible and shared with patients.


NHS Lothian should introduce a regular programme of audits to assure themselves and the public of the quality and safety of healthcare delivery.


Police Scotland should ensure that chlorine-based cleaning products are available for cleaning in line with national guidance.


Police Scotland should identify an area where clinical waste and sharps bins can be stored securely until they are collected.


NHS Lothian should ensure that an Infection Prevention and Control lead for custody centres is identified and that external assurance visits are implemented.


NHS Lothian must ensure that a robust date checking procedure is in place to identify medicines approaching expiry date.


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


Police Scotland should examine the extent to which local policing may at times use custody as an alternative to identifying an appropriate place of safety, and address any issues identified.

Publication type: 
Inspection report