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Forensic nursing: is custody healthcare practitioner the role for you?

Published on: 30 Nov 2023

Find out about the important role custody healthcare practitioners play in ensuring police detainees receive timely assessment and treatment. 

Forensic Nursing

Custody healthcare practitioners are specialist nurses and paramedics who provide expert clinical and forensic care to people detained in police stations.

As the clinical lead in the custody suite, health practitioners work independently and autonomously at an advanced level, assessing, diagnosing and treating patients in varied and complex circumstances.

Custody healthcare practitioners with the Metropolitan Police work independently in 23 police station detention suites in London, providing care to detainees presenting with a variety of acute and long-term physical and mental health conditions.

We play a pivotal role in decision-making to ensure people are fit to be detained and interviewed, and advocate for the health vulnerabilities presented by those arriving in police custody.

We assist the police in obtaining forensic samples from people accused of crimes such as murder and driving offences, and attend court to present evidence we obtain though forensic sampling and assessment.

The role involves ongoing triage so is ideal for nurses who have worked in acute settings such as the emergency department. You need the ability to work through varying degrees of clinical presentations throughout a shift, with the confidence to delegate to non-clinicians.

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Eoin O'Brollachain is custody healthcare practitioner area manager for the South East area with The Metropolitan Police

Find out more about the essential skills required to be a custody healthcare practitioner, what the pay and conditions are like and the career development opportunities available 

Read more careers articles on Nursing Standard