IT has been announced today that Staffordshire Police is to close the Custody Facility at Burton-upon-Trent, leaving just two locations for prisoners to be taken in the whole of Staffordshire.
Anyone who the police arrest will now be taken to Watling Street Custody, which sits on the A5 at Gailey or the Northern Area Custody, which sits just off the A500 in Stoke-on-Trent.
Staffordshire Police say that the move is part of an extensive review of custody detention services which has been undertaken across the force which has identified significant investment will be needed to keep the facility at Burton open.
The news comes several years after the cells at Tamworth Police Stations ceased to be used, and less than a year since ‘Response Officers’ were moved to Burton.
The Force has said that the step they are taking to close the cells at Burton will not affect policing in the area. Officers, however, will now have greater distances to travel with prisoners – meaning they will be away from the streets for longer.
The journey from Tamworth to Watling Street Custody is a 12-mile further round trip than travelling to Burton; whereas officers in Burton will face either a 58-mile round trip to Northern Area Custody or a 64-mile round trip to Watling Street Custody.
Staffordshire Police has said in a statement on their website: “The police estate, including our custody facilities, is kept under constant review to ensure that it meets the needs of the force most effectively to serve communities and keep people safe.
“As part of this, an extensive review of custody detention services has been undertaken across the force. This has identified that significant investment is required at Burton Custody to ensure it meets the required operational standards. This includes repairs to flooring, a CCTV upgrade and changes to fire panels.
“Burton also continues to see the lowest numbers of prisoners of the three custody facilities across the force, meaning that operational efficiency is not being maximised.
“A decision has therefore been made to close the Burton Custody facility in January 2019. Following this closure, custody detention facilities will be provided at Watling Street Custody and Northern Area Custody.
“Concentrating custody services at these two facilities will also enable improvements to be made to how detainees are risk assessed and cared for, with embedded health care practitioners and service referral assessments. Drug testing on arrest will also be rolled out and further improvements are planned to how young people are cared for upon being detained.
“The closure of the custody facility will not affect the policing of the area. Local officers will continue to have visibility, patrolling the area as usual, working as part of the increased community policing team across East Staffordshire.”