Message from Humberside Police:-
Today we start a six-month pilot scheme to test the use of a ‘UK Safety Pod’ in our Clough Road custody suite.
The pod, which is a large, heavy duty bean bag essentially, has been brought into use in one of the three custody holding cells at Clough Road.
The pod has been brought into use for trial following successful use in many other institutions such as mental health care facilities and prisons.
Humberside Police are the first force to use a pod in operational use in a custody facility.
It is the intention to learn from the trial but the hope is that it will ensure staff and officer safety during the custody process, to safely restrain violent and intoxicated offenders and also to provide a safe and secure environment for those who come into our custody with vulnerabilities such as mental health and physical conditions.
Chief Inspector Paul Butler is the Force lead for the trial, he spoke today about the first operation use in Clough Road, “This pilot is important for us to see if the pod brings the expected benefits to the safety and protection of custody officers as well as prisoners that that come into custody.
“Currently if we have to restrain a violent or intoxicated prisoner we have to place them face down on the floor, using approved restraining techniques, this process brings with it the potential for injury to both the prisoner and the custody staff.
“This pod is not a soft option for prisoners, it’s not for their comfort, but it does have the ability to provide a safe and secure environment and does induce a calming effect on those who are placed on one.
“It is hoped that if the pilot scheme is a success we will get a further two pods for the holding cells at Clough Road and look to introduce them into our other custody suite at Birchin Way in Grimsby.
“We have trained our staff in the pods use and will monitor and learn from the pilot to see if we can fine tune training and the use of the pods. I very much hope to see a reduction in assaults to police staff but also reduce some of the minor injuries suffered during initial detentions where the detainee is resisting restraint.
“We actively look for new and innovative ways of reducing harm and assaults on staff and the custody suite is a key location for this type of offence to occur. What the pod does is provide officers with the advantage in terms of seeing early warning signs of heightened agitation in the prisoner and therefore the ability to restrain them appropriately.
“The pod provides a raised platform which is designed to give staff the advantage of being much less restrictive and safer. The restraining of prisoners is also carried out at a comfortable working height reducing the risk of any potential back injuries to officers.
“When on the pod the prisoner is held in a position which is much better for maintaining an open airway, reducing the risk of positional breathing difficulties. They are less likely to harm themselves from coming into contact with hard surfaces such as the floor and walls of the cell and it requires less officers to restrain them.
“If the prisoner presents with a mental health condition the pod provides a familiar restraint or holding environment which could help calm them down and reduce their stress levels.
“The position that the prisoner is sitting in the pod created a natural position of looking up to custody staff, at the moment if detainees are sitting down with the hands behind their backs they tend to be crouched forwards, not only creating a poor sitting position but it naturally means they do not have eye contact with the custody staff.
The pod has come at no cost and been loaned to Humberside Police for the duration of the trial by the manufacturers, UK Pods Limited.
About the UK Safety Pod: