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Learning disabilities and custody

A learning disability may be mild, moderate or severe and can affect the way a person learns; communicates and understands complex information. It is important that the custody officer speaks in plain language to assess the welfare and needs of the detainee. Decisions relating to the risk of harm should be made with other agencies wherever possible.

Being in a police cell can have an adverse effect on a person's condition if they are already suffering from mental illness. In particular, isolation and the noise in a busy custody suite can be aggravating factors

The custody officer will be aware of the risks and ensure that an appropriate level of care is put in place. This may include keeping the detainee under constant observations and \ or observing them in a CCTV camera cell.

An appropriate adult must be requested as soon as possible and ideally this should be the carer of the detainee, where appropriate.