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Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner welcomes consultation regarding sanitary products in custody

21st August 2018

Dame Vera Baird QC, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria welcomes a much needed proposed change in legislation, launched today (August 21), that will require police forces to deliver appropriate care to menstruating detainees in custody.

Back in January 2018, Dame Vera urged the Government to change Code C of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, which provides a statutory code of practice on the treatment of detainees – as it provided no specific information on the treatment of women.

The Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) wrote to the Home Office after discovering that many women were not being given sanitary products and when they were some were passed their expiry date and could have caused sickness if used. Now consultation begins on a new legislation that requires all police forces in England and Wales to:

  • Enable all female detainees to speak to female members of staff whilst in police custody.
  • Ask female detainees, at the earliest opportunity, whether they need menstrual products when in police custody and provide them free of charge.
  • Give sufficient care and consideration to the dignity of all menstruating detainees.


Following the results of the ICVA’s findings Dame Vera and Northumbria Police implemented new processes for women in custody which include private disclosure areas, automatic access to a female officer, regular hygiene packs and guidance on strip searches.

Dame Vera said, “Action was needed to protect the dignity of women and girls having their period in police custody and now together with our partners, we are starting to see a much needed change. We need to see an immediate review of policy across the country. Women in this situation should be treated with the respect, sensitivity and the dignity they deserve.”

Acting custody Chief Inspector Dave Carruthers, said: “While Northumbria Police currently have new procedures in place we still need to continue to highlight the need for change. We have a duty of care for all of our detainees and this consultation will help ensure those with specific needs are cared for in a respectful and appropriate way across the country.”