CHESHIRE Police’s custody suites have been given a clean bill of health by inspectors.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service paid an unannounced visit to the force’s cells in Runcorn, Middlewich and Chester in September.

And the three custody suites were found to be ‘very good overall’, although some areas for improvement were noted.

Inspectors noted that ‘significant progress’ had been made since the last review of services in 2013, with praise for the way detainees with mental health problems were handled and how health services were provided in custody.

Custody suites were clean and conditions were good, while suspects who had been arrested were ‘generally treated well’.

But there was a ‘lack of visibility and oversight’ from custody inspectors, the force struggled to find overnight accommodation for children who had been refused bail and aspects of record keeping ‘did not reflect the quality of practice’.

And officers did not always comply with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 in their detention, treatment and questioning and suspects.

Cheshire Police chief Inspector Rob Dickinson said: “We are proud of the service we provide in our custody suites across Cheshire.

“We have a dedicated team of officers and staff who are committed to ensuring that all those who end up in custody are treated with dignity and respect, have access to everything they need and that those who are vulnerable have any additional support they may need.

“Overall, this is an extremely positive report for the force and it is encouraging to see that the efforts of all those involved in the custody process on a daily basis are recognised.

“A number of areas of good practice are highlighted and we will make sure that these continue.

“There is one recommendation made and some areas for improvement, and work to address these issues is already underway.”

Cheshire police and crime commissioner David Keane added: “This glowing report of Cheshire’s custody suites is testament to the hard work of police officers and staff who work in the units, and to the dedication of volunteer independent custody visitors – who give up their free time to ensure detainees are treated with respect and have access to appropriate facilities.”