Contour: Minimising Stash Points In PICUs

  • 8 Jun 2021

It’s important to minimise stash points in Psychiatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs), because even a 2mm gap could be used as a stash point for contraband, explains Contour

Mental health facilities now offer more freedom to Service Users. This involves giving more access to personal belongings and more control over their comfort.

Involved in the specification of high-secure mental health hospitals, such as PICUs? Find out how to minimise stash points below…


Stash Point Considerations For High-Secure Mental Health Hospitals

Whilst this extra independence may improve morale, it does create more chances for users to carry out acts of vandalism, self-harm and creating stash points.

Therefore, what was once an appropriately robust radiator or guard may need assessment. This is to ensure it meets the challenges modern-day PICUs face.

As service users are bringing more personal belongings into high-secure mental health units, there is more risk of stash points.

For example, an individual could use their personal belongings to create exposed pipework. This could be by using a thin piece of material to create a larger gap.

This could then be used as a stash point. So this must be covered with a robust solution, such as steel pipe boxing.

The Layout Of The Room

The layout of the PICU room is something to consider, because a cluttered room or one with furniture close together creates more opportunities for stash points.

If a bed is near a radiator, for example, there is a greater chance of hiding contraband in small gaps that are not visible.

To avoid stash points with heating solutions, it’s essential that the room is spacious.

Grille Design

In terms of potential stash points, items could be stored behind or inside exposed grilles, such as those found in conventional radiators and air conditioning units.

So, a wide grille design – or any exposed ligature – will also make an item more susceptible to vandalism, creating more opportunities to stash objects in concealed areas.

Grilles in high-secure environments should be small. This is not only to reduce the risk of stash points but to create an anti-ligature radiator solution too. 

Open-Ended Shoulders

Even the smallest of gaps can be used for stash points and radiators that are located close to the corner of the room will create gaps, therefore open-ended shoulders (OES) need considering.

An OES works to minimise stash points in PICUs by allowing a radiator guard or an air conditioning guard to fit tightly up to a corner without creating gaps, rather than only covering the radiator itself.

This will minimise even the smallest of gaps that could be used for stash points.

Sloping Tops

A flat-top on a heating solution can be a potential stash point, especially if the heating solution is high up on a wall – contraband will be easy to miss.

So, having a sloping top heating solution in your PICU environment will ensure that nothing will sit on top.

Reducing Stash Points In High-Secure Mental Health Settings

Contours Deepclean extra works to ensure a robust and hygienic solution. With anti-pick mastic, all gaps are sealed to avoid stash points.

Any potential gap for contraband will be a gap to gather dust too. So, the Deepclean extra allows for easy access for cleaning that will help promote a hygienic environment as well as getting rid of stash points.

Anti-ligature solutions are often specified in high-secure areas where there’s a potential risk for suicide and self-harm.

However, the anti-ligature radiatorguard’s full casing and IP3x grille design ensure they’re the ideal restraint for covering up contraband. This makes it highly unlikely for individuals to hide items inside casings.


Along with Contour’s easy-access locking system, routine checks can be safe and thorough, in the unlikely event of an item being placed inside the casing’s interior.

With pipe boxing, Contour’s exposed pipework is fully encapsulated by a 2mm Zintec steel casing. This makes it highly efficient at preventing individuals within PICUs from stashing contraband around the pipework.

Through the appropriate specification of heating and ventilation solutions within PICUs, you can reduce the risk of hidden contraband. This will to help encourage a safer and more secure environment.

Contour can be contacted at;
The Mansions
43 Broadway
TF11 8BB
Tel: 01952 290 498
Email: [email protected]

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