They are long term prisoners in Belmarsh maximum security prison. Are the regulations governing food offerings for UK detainees the same regardless of the legal context of their detention?

1 Answer 1


No, food is food, but different rules apply:

  • For persons detained under arrest at a police station, Code C, Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) applies, including:

8.6 At least two light meals and one main meal should be offered in any 24-hour period. See Note 8B. Drinks should be provided at meal times and upon reasonable request between meals. Whenever necessary, advice shall be sought from the appropriate healthcare professional, see Note 9A, on medical and dietary matters. As far as practicable, meals provided shall offer a varied diet and meet any specific dietary needs or religious beliefs the detainee may have. The detainee may, at the custody officer’s discretion, have meals supplied by their family or friends at their expense. See Note 8A.

24.—(1) Subject to any directions of the Secretary of State, no prisoner shall be allowed, except as authorised by a health care professional, to have any food other than that ordinarily provided.

(2) The food provided shall be wholesome, nutritious, well prepared and served, reasonably varied and sufficient in quantity.

(3) Any person deemed by the governor to be competent, shall from time to time inspect the food both before and after it is cooked and shall report any deficiency or defect to the governor.

(4) In this rule “food" includes drink.

(As well as the usual health and safety, food handling, catering supplies, hygiene etc regulations - which is drifting in to being off-topic as these are not specific or exclusive to police custody suites or prisons.)

  • Police stations aren't prisons, though. Are all detainees in any given facility given the same food?
    – nick012000
    Sep 29, 2022 at 12:48

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