ACTION is being taken to improve the standards of care of detainees in police custody, the county's police and crime commissioner has insisted.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, which inspects police forces and fire services in England and Wales, this week published report in which it said detainees are not appropriately taken care of while being in the custody of West Mercia Police.

But police and crime commissioner John Campion has insisted his commitment is "stronger than ever" to invest in the force's ability to improve its care of detainees.

Mr Campion said: "West Mercia Police have a duty to those in their care, and the findings of this report are not good enough.

"These are issues that the force and I are already aware of. I am reassured by the action that is already being taken."

The report said detainees are missing out on basic care, with food and drink not actively provided.

Washing, showers, exercise and extra curricular activities are also "extremely finite", detainees are not provided with a fundamental explanation of their rights, and the force does not have enough surveillance over how custody is provided, or how detention officers should do their work, the report warned.

It also raised concerns over detainees' safety, as they are often grouped together and checked in too quickly – which the report said is "poor practice".

Mr Campion said he is "very confident" that the report triggered a sense of awareness among officers, and that now 'a clear structure' is in place. He also promised that he will carry on holding the force to account, in order to ensure the safety of the detainees.

CCTV is being updated, he added, work is being carried out to make buildings safer, and checks are being carried out to improve the standards of custody and detainees' safety, health and welfare needs.

In a statement accompanying Wednesday's report, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams said: “Anyone detained in custody should be treated fairly and kept safe from harm.

“West Mercia Police has a clear governance structure for the safe and respectful provision of custody services. However, these arrangements are not resulting in good custody services.

“Our inspection identified some critical weaknesses in how custody is provided to make sure detainees are kept safe and treated and cared for well.

“Some of the recommendations from our last inspection in 2014 have not been achieved or have only partly been achieved, leaving some important areas of custody requiring urgent attention – including management oversight of custody, governance and oversight of the use of force, risk management and detainee care. These are now causes of concern."

“More positively, the force responded quickly to our feedback during the inspection, taking action in several areas. This gives us confidence that custody services, and outcomes for detainees, will now improve.”