Six month pilot project

Award winning UK Pods Ltd, based in new premises on Skippers Lane, has supplied Humberside Police with its trademark Safety Pod, as part of a six month pilot project.

The force is the first in the country to use the device to assist in physically restraining prisoners in a way that should improve safety for officers, at the same time as minimising risks to detainees who may be vulnerable.

Palkesh Darbar, director and clinical skills consultant of UK Pods LTD, said the introduction of the Safety Pod was a “tremendous leap forward” in terms of healthcare organisations and the Police sharing best practice.

UK Pods Ltd, which started as a family run, Teesside-based business and is now a global brand providing products worldwide, is already in about 80% of NHS mental health hospitals across the UK.

“Where there is an absolute need to physically restrain people in a potentially high risk situation, the sharing of best practice is needed across the board,” said Palkesh.

“At the moment, different types of organisations all have completely different approaches, which can increase the risks of injury for detainees and healthcare staff or officers.

“Safety Pods, coupled with the training and aftercare provided by UK Pods Ltd around their use, provide a risk reduction method and have been proven to reduce the need for restraint altogether. But they also reduce the risks for everyone involved in situations when restraint is unavoidable.”

He describes what has been happening with the use of the safety pod in the first 24 hours of the pilot project in custody at Humberside police as “groundbreaking”.

“This is just the beginning,” said Palkesh.

“It marks a huge culture change that is much needed, not just across police forces but wherever there is a potential need for the use of restraint.

“A number of Trusts across the UK have made huge improvements by implementing what would be deemed by UK Pods as a proactive approach to restrictive practices that is person-centred and individualised.

This type of best practice should be shared with other organisations, and Humberside Police are the first to bridge that gap between what is happening in healthcare, with the use of a safer alternative, and what should be happening to improve safety for officers and detainees in the Police.

Humberside Police have praised the product, with Chief Inspector Paul Butler describing the “expected benefits to the safety and protection of custody officers, as well as prisoners that come into custody”.

“Currently, if we have to restrain a violent or intoxicated prisoner, we have to place them face down on the floor, using approved restraining techniques, which brings the potential for injury to both the prisoner and custody staff,” he said.

“This pod is not a soft option for prisoners, it’s not for their comfort, but it does have the ability to provide a safe and secure environment and does have a calming effect on those who are placed on one.

“I very much hope to see a reduction in assaults to police staff but also reduce some of the minor injuries suffered during initial detentions where the detainee is resisting restraint.”

UK Pods Ltd started out with an SSI grant as part of investment in new business start-ups for former steelworkers.

Palkesh’s father-in-law Don Crawford is a former steelworker who was awarded the grant, which kick-started the business Don, Palkesh and Don’s daughter Genevieve now run as a global enterprise.

UK Pods Ltd does not just manufacture and export Safety Pods, it also provides training and consultancy worldwide in their use, to reduce the need for restrictive practices.

It also provides a thorough aftercare service, making it completely unique in its industry.

The Safety Pods are manufactured in Peterlee, keeping the business rooted within the industrial North-East of England.

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