Regulating police detention: a case study of custody visiting

Kendall, Gilbert John (2017). Regulating police detention: a case study of custody visiting. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis investigates the work of custody visiting in police stations. Custody visitors make what are supposed to be random and unannounced visits to custody blocks in all parts of England and Wales. They check on the welfare of detainees being held in police custody, and they report their findings to the local Police and Crime Commissioner. Custody visiting is an important component of the criminal justice system, but it has been almost completely ignored by police scholars, and is largely unknown among the general public. The thesis analyses the character of official policy about custody visiting since the first “lay visiting” schemes in the early 1980s, through to the operation, from 2002, of the current statutory scheme known as “Independent Custody Visiting”. Using observation and face-to-face interviews in a local case study, along with wider desk and archival research and elite interviews, and drawing on Steven Lukes’ concept of power, this thesis is an original, in-depth investigation of this phenomenon. It is the first rigorous assessment of custody visiting, and the first thorough evaluation of its independence and of its effectiveness as a regulator of police behaviour.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Birmingham Law School
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
K Law > KD England and Wales


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