HMICS North East Scotland Custody Inspection

14 December 2021

The aim of this inspection was to assess the treatment of and conditions for individuals detained in police custody centres located in the North East Scotland police division. This division is served by three primary centres located in Aberdeen (Kittybrewster), Fraserburgh and Elgin. There are several ancillary centres within this division but these were not within the scope of this inspection. This inspection report outlines issues that are common across the three custody centres and also highlights differences between the centres where these occur.

Police Scotland has made considerable progress in implementing previous recommendations and improvement actions in respect of custody services and are actively working to address those that remain outstanding. This report contains three new recommendations that have specific relevance for the custody centres that were subject of this inspection. HMICS recognise that some of these will be equally applicable to other custody centres across Scotland and should be taken into account in improvement planning by Police Scotland’s Criminal Justice Services Division.




Police Scotland should replace the existing paper-based recording system at Kittybrewster with an effective and reliable electronic system that can be updated in real time from the location that cell checks are being undertaken.


Police Scotland should review the potential risks and benefits of utilising local policing to cover shifts and other custody operations in the North East cluster and build resilience in CJSD capacity where required.


Police Scotland should continue to engage with the responsible health boards and Health and Social Care Partnerships to ensure that a consistent, accessible and quality healthcare service is provided to the Elgin custody centre as soon as possible.

Publication type: 
Inspection report