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Police custody: An area of concern?

Eric Blaauw (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

The British Journal of Forensic Practice

ISSN: 1463-6646

Article publication date: 1 July 2001


This article describes three studies on several aspects of police custody in The Netherlands. The first study shows that the quality of accommodation, facilities, interaction and differential treatment are substandard in Dutch police stations, but dependent of the organisational size, degree of specialisation of the custodial task and extensiveness of duty‐prescriptions and registration. Detention circumstances in police stations are worse than in remand centres. The second study reveals high prevalence rates of symptoms of depression and somatisation (SCL‐90) among police custody detainees. Police custody detainees' symptom levels are higher than those in a jail population and a male general population. The third study addresses the prevalence rates of suicides and other deaths in Dutch police custody in the period 1983‐1993 and shows that the mortality rate, suicide rate and deadly poisoning rate are higher than those in remand centres and the general population. The findings of the three studies demonstrate that police custody is an area of concern.


Blaauw, E. (2001), "Police custody: An area of concern?", The British Journal of Forensic Practice, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 3-10.




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