BlueLight Commercial launches healthcare in custody police tenders

BlueLight Commercial, in collaboration with 13 police forces, has announced the launch of seven new tenders over the next four months, for the provision of healthcare services in custody. These latest tenders have an estimated contract value of £36m, over an average five-year contract term.

The 43 police forces of England and Wales, spend approximately £21m per year on healthcare services in custody and, due to contracts not being aligned, there is an ongoing rotation of tender publication. BlueLight Commercial’s pipeline indicates that a further five forces will need to tender next year, seven in 2023 and up to nine forces will need to tender in 2024.

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and its Codes of Practice (PACE) sets out a statutory framework for custodial care and requires police forces to provide care and treatment to persons held in custody and gives them access to a competent, qualified, and trained healthcare professionals and advanced practitioners on a 24/7 or on-call basis.

Healthcare and forensic services operate within custody suites to provide clinical assessment, intervention, advice and guidance of a detainee’s fitness for detention, interview, charge or supports an exit release risk assessment. The service also provides support to the forensic process, carrying out activities such as taking samples for evidence purposes.

Durham and the Yorkshire and Humber police forces have been working successfully with their local NHS service to provide custodial healthcare services and forces would be particularly interested in exploring new opportunities to work with NHS trusts. Jason Meecham, Temporary Chief Inspector, Durham Constabulary, said, “Durham Constabulary have worked in partnership with County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust for several years now, ensuring the safe provision of healthcare across our Custody facilities. Working alongside the custody staff, the healthcare professionals provide essential care, guidance and support 24/7.”

Dr Meng Aw-Yong, Medical Director Metropolitan Police Service, says, “Working in custody is a unique experience. Many healthcare professionals are worried but it’s a safe environment. You have your personal bodyguards and detainees are all searched, unlike in hospitals. Detainees view you as helping them and in my 25 years of working in custody I have never felt scared. Custody work is so interesting providing you with an insight into a different world of fraud, drug and alcohol misuse, mental health, drink drive cases, murders and even terrorism. There is a link of custody with A&E and custody provides a golden moment where healthcare professionals can make a huge difference with referrals to A&E for alcohol, drug and mental health as many detainees do not even have that opportunity.”

Register for Market Engagement Event – 22 July 2021

Healthcare services for custodial settings are commissioned by police forces with support from BlueLight Commercial, NHS England and the Forensic Capability Network (FCN).

BlueLight Commercial has been working with forces to develop a standard healthcare specification and national key performance indicators. All these new tenders are aligned with this new standard approach, although each has been tailored to reflect local force requirements.

Interested parties, including NHS staff, are invited to join BlueLight Commercial and the individual forces at a virtual Market Engagement Event on the afternoon of 22 July 2021. The afternoon will give an overview of the new standardised approach, provide an opportunity to discuss concerns of providing healthcare in custody, as well as being able to chat with and explore local requirements with individual police forces, including Derbyshire, South-West Collaboration, Greater Manchester, Cumbria, Lancashire and Welsh Force Collaboration.

To register please e-mail: – registrations are limited to two attendees per supplier.