Latest News

Police Custody Detainees in the Emergency Department

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 14.07.55The Royal College of Emergency Medicine & the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine have joint badged the document ‘Emergency Department Patients in Police Custody‘.


UKAFN members can access this document in the ‘Members Area’, of the website.  The document outlines the expectation that detained individuals are entitled to the same level of standard as any other ED patient.


The document outlines the kind of setting a care delivery available in the custody setting.  Advising that there should be no difference between discharging an individual home and to custody.


Finally, the document gives a brief of the level of information that the ED should be given from the referring clinician in the custody suite.

Mental Health Assessment module

This module, provided by Staffordshire University will provide students with a basic awareness of mental health issues, how to make an assessment appropriate to your role and identify referral pathways. You will study via Blended Learning which means you will study attending 3 face to face study days and via the University’s on-line virtual learning environment, for which you will need access to a computer with internet access.

You will study and learn with others who work in a wide range of public/private sector environments.  For example; fellow students may be working in Occupational Health, Human Resources, Housing Associations, Healthcare Support Workers, Youth Workers, Primary Care Nurses, Prison Officers, Nurses in A&E, Custody or Sexual Assault, Police and Fire Officers.

You will be introduced to a variety of tools and techniques which will help you recognise and understand when someone may be experiencing mental health problems. This will include;

  • Mental Health Assessment Tools
  • Mental State Examination
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and its use in assessment
  • Assessing Mental Capacity
  • Assessing the Older Adult
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Physical Considerations
  • Autistic Spectrum Awareness
  • Personality Disorders
  • Physical Health in Mental Health

Assessment will be a written assessment based on a case study

For more details see UKAFN – Courses

RCN Forum Focus: Time for a change

RCN member Michelle Gorman is passionate about allowing nurses in Scotland to work as forensic examiners, something they’re currently prevented from doing under Scottish law


Michelle, a qualified nurse for 15 years, works as an on-call support nurse for the only sexual assault referral centre in Scotland. It’s her job to assist the forensic medical examiner when dealing with somebody who’s been a victim of sexual assault or rape.

In England, forensic nurse examiners carry out sexual assault examinations, but under Scottish law nurses are limited to the role of assistant and are prevented from performing examinations themselves. This is because of a unique requirement in Scottish law which means there must be two separate sources of evidence for a criminal case, such as rape, before it can proceed to trial. This is called corroboration.

The reason nurses in Scotland cannot be forensic examiners is mainly because a doctor could refute the findings of the nurse. Therefore, this role is usually performed by a doctor or forensic medical examiner to avoid the evidence being dismissed, or not corroborated.


Taking control

Michelle decided to train to become a forensic nurse examiner in England and self-funded her post-graduate certificate. Now, thanks to funding from the RCN Foundation, she is studying a post-graduate diploma in advanced forensic practice (Course details).

Michelle feels it’s time for the law to change to allow nurses in Scotland to be forensic examiners.

She says: “It’s a service I feel incredibly passionate about and at the moment it is not something we are able to offer 24/7 for people in Scotland who have been raped or sexually assaulted.

“Instead, when our referral centre is unavailable, either through staff shortage or it being in use for another case, victims may be examined in a police station, which does not provide the same level of privacy, anonymity, calmness and cleanliness.”


Under review

Jess Davidson, a committee member of the RCN’s Nursing in Criminal Justice Services Forum, is a senior clinical forensic charge nurse for NHS Lothian and part of a clinical group reviewing current practice in this area.

She says: “We are working to remove professional barriers to undertaking this work, but there needs to be an infrastructure in place to train nurses to become forensic examiners. It’s not just a simple case of ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

“There seems to be no reason why suitably qualified and experienced nurses can’t do this job, especially with precedent in the rest of the UK and other countries.”

There needs to be an infrastructure in place to train nurses to become forensic examiners

Get Involved

Do you work in criminal justice settings? Would you like to? Would you value the knowledge and support of nursing staff who specialise in this area? Why not join the RCN Nursing in Criminal Justice Services Forum?

Visit to find out more.

To find out about the financial support available from the RCN Foundation visit www.rcnfoundation.



Word document: RCN article FNE

Latest newsletter out

UKAFN‘s latest edition of the newsletter – Winter 2015/16 has been released.  Members should of received their copy in the email boxes.  Don’t forget that it can always be accessed from the UKAFN members area.

Nursing Standard: A caring approach for people in crisis

Jane Murphy is nurse lead for Operation Emblem, in which mental health nurses work with police to reduce arrests of people in crisis. The project has improved police understanding of mental health and access to care. Ms Murphy was runner-up in the 2015 Nursing Standard Nurse Awards mental health category.

See Members area


Sexual assault kit and DNA backlogs across the USA are in the news with alarming frequency. With rising public outcry gaining the attention of media and lawmakers, it is critical that laboratory and agency leaders are forward-thinking in their approach to solutions and proposing efficient and effective new processes.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 11.12.58

Download National Forensic Science Technology Center’s white paper to learn more about setting up a successful biological screening program in your laboratory.

Nursing Times: Tighten standards or risk harm in custody, warn forensic nurses

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 17.24.34

More people could die or suffer harm in police custody unless the NHS tightens new standards for nurses and other professionals working with this vulnerable group, claim forensic nursing experts.

A failure to ensure those working in this complex and challenging field have the right skills also risks putting put inexperienced staff under intolerable strain and driving them away from the profession, say nurses who have called for urgent revisions to service specifications.

Click here to read the full article

Widening the availability of Naloxone

The Government in conjunction with the;Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 20.11.08

Have published new update of the use of Naloxone, Widening the availability of Naloxone.  The changes make it easier for to order naloxone, to administer naloxone and to supply naloxone to individuals that are likely to either come across individuals suffering a opiate overdose or at risk of overdosing on opiates, without a prescription.  The increased availability is aimed to decreased the number of deaths associated with opiate overdose.

Potential implications for custody healthcare

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 10.50.48

APP: Mental Health Consultation

lVr2Nd0y_400x400A full index of the content of mental health authorised professional practice (APP) is available. This module, when published, will wholly replace and decommission the existing ACPO (now NPCC) and Department of Health (2010) guidance on responding to people with mental ill health or learning disabilities.

This APP on mental health has been developed through:

  • consolidating and updating pre-existing guidance
  • professional expertise of police and voluntary sector practitioners
  • international and national legislation, statutory codes of practice and relevant case law
  • IPCC lessons learnt from deaths following police contact, (and successful interventions).

The section on communication skills and techniques draws on findings from systematic reviews of research evidence. Where the guidance draws on any empirical evidence, it is explicitly referenced in the text.

Mental health APP is intended to provide guidance to the police service of England and Wales. It is focused on the police response to people who:

  • are experiencing mental ill health
  • have a learning disability
  • have developmental conditions
  • have multiple needs relating to mental health
  • are mentally or emotionally vulnerable and require assistance.

The guidance highlights the actions and behaviours that may help the police address the needs of mentally vulnerable individuals, whether they are acting in a criminal justice or health care capacity, or in both of these roles. When acting in a criminal justice capacity, the police will become involved when a person is a victim of crime, a witness to crime or is suspected of or known to have committed a crime. When acting in a healthcare capacity, the police may be:

  • acting in support of healthcare agencies that are dealing with someone experiencing mental ill health (for example, by using police powers)
  • supporting a person experiencing mental ill health until healthcare professionals are involved
  • responding to families and carers of people with mental ill health or learning disabilities who have concerns about them
  • responding to members of the public seeking a service from the police in relation to suspected mental ill health or learning disabilities on the part of an individual.

To review please click here.