Nurses are playing an even greater role in assessing people held in police custody, a report claims.
Officers working in custody suites like the fact that nurses turn up promptly, use less medical jargon, and appear more sensitive, it added.
Researchers from the University of Wolverhampton analysed 9,000 calls for medical assistance from five police stations and interviewed 31 custody nurses, custody officers and Forensic Medical Examiners (FMEs).
They found nurses responded up to 50% faster than FMEs, and spent roughly around the same amount of time with patients.
The study is published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing. Lead author Dr Patricia Bond said: "Many UK police authorities are also starting to use dedicated custody nurses as well as FMEs to ease pressure on the healthcare system.
"Our research showed that the nurses - who were specifically employed to provide on-call custody support - demonstrated faster response times and similar consultation times to the doctors.
"Police custody staff also found them extremely approachable when it came to providing information.
"Using nurses as part of a multidisciplinary team is a practical response to the challenges faced by an overburdened health service and our research suggests that it has been very successful.
"Nurses can have a very positive impact in custody situations and can, by supplementing the work of the FME, increase operational efficiency, which is very important for both the health and police services."
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"I have an interview for a custody nurse position and would welcome any information regarding this interesting post. I am also from an acute assessment background" - M Thompson, Manchester
"I currently work in Custody units in the County where I live, having been a mental health professional for 33yrs. I have found this job to be exciting, fascinating and definitely the safest environment that I have ever worked in. I have previously worked as a CPN and as a Charge Nurse in an acute admissions unit. Working as a Custody Nurse is a challenging role and one which I would recommend." - Julie, Cornwall
"I work as a critical care nurse at UHNS, Stoke-on-Trent and wouuld be thrilled to become involved in police custody nursing." - Helen Nutting, Staffs
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"I work in police custody in Derbyshire and would be interested in getting involved. Are there any specific courses for nurses?" - Name and address supplied
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