Skip to main content

Home | About us | Policies | H07 The use of personal metal detectors in custody

H07 The use of personal metal detectors in custody 

1. Security protective marking

1.1. Not protectively marked.

2. Summary of changes


2.1. The following changes have been made to this policy on 24 April 2012:

    • Terminology has been updated to comply with the structure of the new Kent Policing Model.

2.2. This policy was due for review in April 2013.  The review of this policy is on hold pending the Kent Police Policy Restructure, taking place throughout 2013.

3. Application

 3.1. This policy applies to arresting officers and searching officers.


4. Purpose 

4.1. The purpose of this policy is to ensure the safety of staff, other detainees, visitors and the detainee through the use of personal metal detectors in custody by minimising the opportunity for harm to be caused.

4.2. The power to search people in police detention is contained within the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and its Codes of Practice.

4.3. This policy must be read in conjunction with policy H01 Defendant custody management.


5. Use of personal metal detectors 

5.1. The personal metal detectors are designed to locate small metal objects (e.g. needles, razor blades, knives, etc.) concealed in clothing or on / within the body. The detector should be passed over the surface to be checked at a constant distance, with the manufacturer’s plate facing the user.

5.2. Each District is in possession of two personal metal detectors of the approved make and model, which will be kept in the charge/reception room in custody. An officer will be designated to be responsible for:

    • Ensuring that all routine maintenance and servicing is carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions;
    • Availability of spare batteries at all times;
    • Immediate arrangements for repair/replacement in the event of malfunction or damage.

5.3. The body scanning of all detainees brought into custody is mandatory, with a personal metal detector to assist establishing if there is anything secreted on them, which can be used to harm himself or herself or any other person or to facilitate escape/damage property. Wherever possible this should be done prior to placing them in a cell or detention room. (See the Police and Criminal Evidence Act Codes of Practice).

5.4. The detainee will be told the purpose of the scan.

5.5. The use of the scan is not to be regarded as a substitute for a proper and thorough search of a detainee upon arrival at the Custody Suite, but as an additional safety measure for the benefit of all people within custody suites.


5.6. All activations must be manually checked and not just dismissed as something innocuous.

5.7. The scan should only be as extensive as necessary for establishing the presence/absence of any article capable of being used to harm themselves, any other person or to facilitate escape/damage property.

5.8.  If, for any reason, a body scan is not carried out on a detained person (e.g. the Custody Officer does not consider it to be appropriate - a short stay prisoner with constant supervision, unavailability of a metal detector, etc) the Custody Officer will ensure that the reason is recorded on the Custody Record.


6. Strip searches 

6.1. In the event the body scan reveals the likely presence of articles (see paragraph 5.3 above) the detained person should be requested to hand them over. If the request is refused then the Custody Officer will arrange for a strip search to be carried out as soon as possible. The detainee should be kept under constant supervision until the strip search has been concluded.

6.2. Strip searches, which will not be routinely carried out, will be conducted in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act Codes of Practice.


7. Intimate searches

7.1. If articles are found within a body orifice and the detainee refuses to hand them over their removal would constitute an Intimate search, for which special arrangements exist. (See policy H01 and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act Codes of Practice).


8. Special risk prisoners 

8.1. See policy H01 Defendant custody management.


9. Updating PNC and Genesis 

9.1. Where it is found that the PNC result contains ‘warning signals’ which were not known to Genesis the Custody Officer will enter these warnings onto the nominal record. Any warning signal associated with the detainee should be recorded on the arrest/summons report which will update Genesis automatically.


10. Handover procedures 

10.1.  See policy H01 Defendant custody management.

11. Equality impact assessment


11.1. This policy has been assessed with regards to its relevance to race and diversity equality. As a result of this assessment the policy has been graded as having a low potential impact.


11.2. Attached is the latest equality impact assessment that forms part of the policy review process.

Policy reference: H07 The use of personal metal detectors in custody
Policy owner: Chief Superintendent. Head of Central Investigation Command
Contact point: Policy Unit, 01622 653298
Date last reviewed: 11 April 2011
Document last saved: 09 April 2013