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The UK government are planning to change the law: Police will have to ask women in custody whether they will require sanitary products, according to the Home Office.

The Home Office is set to change the law to ensure all menstruating women, and others with personal health and hygiene needs, are treated with dignity whilst in custody.

Police forces will have to ask female detainees at the earliest opportunity whether they are likely to require sanitary products, which they will be given free of charge.

The changes will also require police forces to make arrangements for all detainees to speak in private to a member of custody staff of the same sex about personal needs relating to their health, hygiene and welfare.

The Home Office completed a public consultation, which saw overwhelming support from the public and the police for the proposals.

Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, Nick Hurd, said:

“I have been clear that everyone who enters custody should be treated with dignity and have their personal needs met.

“Great progress has been made by the police, ICVA and the College of Policing on this issue, and today we are announcing how we will ensure these standards are met across the board.”

The Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) wrote to the Home Office last year concerned that women were being left without basic sanitary protection in police cells.
Examples included one force not providing tampons to women for safety reasons, female detainees being stripped of all clothing, including underwear, and placed in paper suits with no menstrual products being offered.

There are also concerns about a lack of access to hand-washing facilities and the use of CCTV in cells.

The changes will ensure that detainee dignity, health, hygiene and welfare products are considered when..Read more

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