POLICE and crime commissioners are urging the government to take action to ensure women and girls are given “dignity” when they are in police custody.

The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), is backing calls for the government to update legislation around the treatment of female detainees in police custody.

Dame Vera Baird, APCC victims lead and PCC for Northumbria Police, 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.

“I’m pleased that in Northumbria we have taken great strides forward with regards to the support of women in custody and have ensured that ‘hygiene packs’ are routinely offered to women on arrival in custody and in addition available on request.”

At present, there is no statutory requirement to provide female detainees with access to a female police officer.

In addition, there is no requirement for police officers to check if female detainees need any menstrual products whilst in police custody or to make them aware that these will be provided free of charge.

APCC custody lead and chair Martyn Underhill said: “This issue has united Police and Crime Commissioners and will hopefully bring about what we consider to be long-overdue changes to legislation that fails to recognise the needs of female detainees.”