Police custody: reception conditions in police stations deemed “unworthy” in times of health crisis

September 21, 2021 by No Comments

The general controller of places of deprivation of liberty (CGLPL) Dominique Simonnot issued this Tuesday, September 21, six recommendations to improve the conditions of custody in police premises, denouncing their “Total indignity” in times of health crisis.

Between November 2020 and July 2021, the CGLPL visited 17 police stations in Paris, Ile-de-France and the regions to ensure that the material conditions of reception of persons deprived of their liberty complied with government requirements related to the Covid-19 epidemic.

“Inadmissible in ordinary times, these conditions of promiscuity and hygiene are even more so in times of health crisis”, Dominique Simonnot alarmed.

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She denounces the promiscuity of locals “Often unsuitable and unworthy” which make it impossible to respect barrier gestures or hygienic conditions “Structurally unworthy” marked by “Pestilential odors” and “The accumulation of grime”.

“No specific protocol”

It notes, for example, the sharing of mattresses “Almost never cleaned and even less disinfected”, the supply of a personal protective mask “Almost never renewed” during deprivation of liberty – the government advocates a change every four hours – and limited access to hydroalcoholic gel.

According to the CGLPL, “No specific protocol has been put in place in the context of the health crisis”, such as regular disinfection of premises, specific cleaning of contact areas or a latency period between two uses of a cell.

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In his recommendations sent to the Ministry of the Interior, Dominique Simonnot urges the administration to set up custody and detention facilities “Sized in proportion to judicial activity” and “Kept in a good state of repair, maintenance and hygiene”, while ensuring access ” permanently “ to hygiene kits delivered “Without restrictions”.

“The recurring nature of the shortcomings identified as well as the lack of improvement in this situation over the past ten years require that a comprehensive policy to rehabilitate police premises and improve hygiene be put in place today. “, recommends in conclusion the CGLPL.

“Too categorical”

All the recommendations of the CGLPL are published this Tuesday, September 21 in the Official Journal.

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In his response, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin rejected the term “Total indignity” selected to qualify the reception conditions in the police stations, judging it “Too categorical and too general” and founded “On the visit of a limited number of premises”.

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The obligation to treat persons in police custody with dignity is “Rigorously respected in the vast majority of situations”, he assured, nevertheless acknowledging “That there are premises, rare however, whose material situation is not satisfactory”.

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