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Ms. Joanne Caffrey

Professional Description:

Expert Witness in Safer Custody (Prison or Police), use of force and challenging behaviour

Area of work:

UK and Ireland


Safer Custody is a UK holistic strategy for providing a common framework of understanding and governance concerning any detained person within the Criminal Justice System, regardless of which agent is currently caring for the person. From point of initial encounter, stop and search/arrest, through police, court and prison custody, and all associated private contractors providing transport services between the agencies.

The secure custody sector includes:
· the prisons and young offender institutions (YOIs),
· police custody,
· secure transport services,
· court custody,
· immigration,
· child secure accommodation,
· mental health,
· customs custody,
· military detention

I achieved national awards for my custody training programmes and associated work in this area which included the 2012 British Association of Women in Policing, Excellence in Performance, Award and 2018 Federation of Forensic & Expert Witness Award.

Since September 2020 I have been registered with the National Crime Agency as an Expert Advisor for major crime investigative support.

I have been involved, to varying degrees, with approx. 180 cases concerning safer custody, the use of force in police, prison, immigration centres, SIA, schools and mental health sectors, or station/hospital procedures. These include deaths and injuries.

During my police service I also trained as an intoxilyser trainer, completing the train the trainer course at National Police Training, Harrogate. During my service, as a custody sergeant, I conducted many evidential breath tests, and trained others to conduct them. I am familiar with the MGDD process. I have experience of providing expert witness reports concerning the evidential breath test procedure and hospital blood procedures. During my time as a custody sergeant it was the sergeant’s responsibility to conduct all breathalyser and blood procedures. This changed to allow constables to conduct the procedures following the introduction of ‘safer custody’ when the sergeant was removed from the investigative process.

I have been engaged by legal teams representing both claimant and defendant.

I have been engaged for discipline, coroner, civil, and criminal cases.
I have been engaged by the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Complaints) and the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman; The police federation and prison officers' union.

I have worked with the BBC news, BBC Radio 4 and Radio 5 Live Investigation teams concerning investigations on challenging behaviour and use of force.

I completed the Bond Solon / Cardiff University Law School Expert Witness training over 2014 and 2015, registering as an Expert from 2016

Examples of cases I have provided my services for include:
Coroner court case concerning the death of a person in a mental health unit during a restraint;
Coroner court cases concerning deaths during police stop and search procedures;
Coroner court cases concerning choking deaths – police and the child sectors;
Coroner court cases concerning deaths in custody;
Coroner court case concerning mental ill health and missing persons procedures;
Civil cases concerning police custody relating to head injuries and intoxication;
Civil case concerning police response to a missing person, mental health and intoxication;
Civil case concerning police release on bail and subsequent offences;
Civil cases involving ligature deaths in prison custody;
Civil cases concerning staff and prisoner assaults in prison custody;
Civil cases concerning the use of force against children in schools;
Civil cases concerning staff injured in schools during use of force incidents;
Civil cases concerning SIA staff use of force;
Criminal cases involving the use of force by SIA staff including manslaughter, GBH and ABH;
Criminal case involving ABH accusations against a prison officer;
Criminal case involving GBH complaint in police custody against an officer;
Criminal case against custody sergeant for ABH
Criminal case involving the biting of a prison officer and ‘potting’ by prisoners;
Criminal cases concerning assaults against emergency service staff, in mental health units and police patrol incidents;
Criminal cases concerning the stress effects and how this influences behaviours during restraint;
Police discipline case against officers accused of unnecessary use of force;
Civil cases concerning issues around staff training/lack of staff training for custody roles;
Human Rights case concerning police bail, mental ill health and murder;
Criminal cases, and an appeal, concerning the evidential breath test procedure at police custody;
Criminal cases and court of appeal case concerning excess alcohol/drugs – including fail to provide.

I have provided evidence in person and via live-link

Joanne Caffrey, Expert Witness & Specialist Trainer.
Total Train Ltd.

Safer Custody, use of force and managing challenging behaviour
Custody, Education, Care and Security sectors
2019-2020 Specialist Training Provider Winner
2018 Forensic & Expert Witness Award Winner - Outstanding Legal Services to Safer Custody
2012 British Excellence in Performance Award
2008 & 2009 National Training Awards winner
Mobile: 07528 800 720


Professional Expert Witness with Bond Solon Legal Training in conjunction with Cardiff University Law School.


Further information on my training and consulting operations can be found at:

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