A day in the life of a Custody Detention Officer.

During our Initial Training Course (ITC), we learnt that good interpersonal skills and a non-judgmental approach are essential when working with detained people. We were shown the correct way to carry out the duties expected of a Custody Detention Officer (CDO) as well as the consequences of not adhering to PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) regulations. As a CDO, the welfare and safety of the detained people in our care is of paramount importance.

There are many important aspects of a CDO’s day to day role. A typical day for me starts with my first task, which is to carry out a tour around the custody area I am looking after that day. In this tour, I check every detained person who is in custody and ensure that they are well. Working alongside my colleagues, I also check every empty cell for any damage and make sure that all equipment in the custody area is safe and in working order. This is to ensure that it is safe for detained people and all custody staff to use.

The next task that we carry out is the daily court run and this is where we prepare and hand over any detained people who are due to appear in court that day. Following this, we clean the vacated cells so that they are ready to be used again for any more detained people who may come into custody. After this, we then hand out breakfast to the remaining detained people in the custody area.

Throughout the day, we carry out regular checks on the detained people in custody to ensure that they are OK and to carry out any reasonable requests that they may have and that they have the right to have.

During our tour of duty, we escort detained people to and from the police surgeon for assessment as well as dispensing any medicine which has been prescribed for them. We also escort detained people to and from solicitor consultations and interviews. Whilst detained people are in custody and if they are here for a recordable offence, we also obtain fingerprints, photographs and DNA samples which are then retained on the police force database.

There are many other day to day roles that we carry out such as general admin duties, first aid, restraint when needed and searching. All these duties have to be prioritised to enable the smooth running of the custody suite. At the end of the shift we hand over to the oncoming shift and make sure that they know the history of all the detained people in the custody area including any behavioural, medical and general issues.

“As a CDO, the welfare and safety of the detained people in
our care is of paramount importance.”

Donna Bailey
Custody Detention Officer

Custody Detention Officer | About the job

No two days are the same for a Custody Detention Officer (CDO). You’ll come into contact with people from all walks of life on a daily basis as well as liaising with G4S colleagues in the custody area and a wide variety of other people including police officers, solicitors and members of the public.

Are you the person we’re looking for?

Being a CDO isn’t always plain sailing. It requires determination, motivation, initiative, adaptability and flexibility. You’ll be dealing with a wide variety of people as well as following processes and procedures in line with training and regulations, so the ability to follow instructions is essential.

We need people from a broad range of backgrounds with life experience who are good at listening to others, vigilant, non-judgmental and able to remain calm and in control under pressure. As part of our team of CDOs you’ll face many challenges so you’ll need to be able to think on your feet and use your initiative.

What will I be doing?
  • Helping the Custody Sergeant to ensure prisoners, detainees and their belongings are cared for at police stations
  • Helping reception with release procedures for prisoners Patrolling cells, monitoring and supervising the
  • movement of prisoners
  • Tidying cells, corridors and rooms within the custody suite
  • Preparing and serving food and drinks for prisoners
  • Supervising visits by official visitors and ensuring visits by relatives are monitored
Frequently asked questions

What are the hours and shifts like?
Hours are based on a rotating shift pattern which covers days, nights, evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays.

Will I be working with the same people all the time?

CDOs in police custody suites work as part of a team to deliver a high quality service. You will work closely with police officers, other CDOs and external agencies such as solicitors, healthcare personnel and members of the public.

Do I need previous experience in this type of work?

No. We welcome people from all backgrounds with life experience. Your positive attitude, motivation and
non-judgmental disciplined approach are essential to succeed.

What training will I receive?
In order to become a CDO, you’ll attend our comprehensive Home Office approved Initial Training Course (ITC) which covers skills such as communication, security, first aid and control and restraint. The ITC is followed by shadow training where you will be paired with an experienced CDO in order to gain practical experience in all aspects of the job.

When would I start work?
It can take several weeks before your security checks are complete. These checks include your 10 year history, names of employers, references, where you have lived and if you have County Court Judgements (CCJs) or a criminal record. You will also need to have been resident in the UK for a minimum period of three years.

What are the benefits of working for G4S?
We invest heavily in our people and offer benefits that you would expect from a large quality organisation including generous holiday entitlement, life assurance, company pension, sick pay scheme, comprehensive training, career development and a uniform.