POLICE have invested in new display units to store religious materials in custody suites following a review by Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner.
Simon Hayes hopes the benefits will extend beyond Hampshire and the Isle of Wight with opportunities for new national standards being explored.
Action was taken after an Independent Custody Visitor, Pritheepal Singh, visited custody suites to assess how those in custody are treated.
It was recommended that more appropriate storage provision and a wider selection of religious texts available for use by detainees should be provided.
The response by the force’s custody team, including faith and religion champion colleagues, sought guidance and advice from local community faith leaders on how best to bring facilities up to the required standard.
The new display units enable all religious materials to be stored with the required dignity and respect and a wider selection of religious texts have also been obtained for use by detainees.
The College of Policing has subsequently been asked to provide national guidance following the changes within Hampshire and to drive improvements in police custody suites nationally.
Mr Hayes said: ‘I am pleased to say that the storage of religious items in Hampshire has been improved and that local experiences will promote national learning and greater religious understanding.’