Police hunt for 3 acre site within 15 mile radius of Cambridge for £15 million, 20 cell custody suite

The custody suites will be located within each 15 mile radius.

The custody suites will be located within each 15 mile radius. - Credit: Archant

A three acre site within a 15 mile radius of Cambridge is being sought by police for a £15 million, 20 cell custody suite to replace those at Parkside Police Station.

Chief executive Dr Dorothy Gregson of the Office of the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner says the scheme was first put forward in 2010 but shelved because of austerity cuts.

In a report to the commissioner’s business coordination board she says some remedial work was carried out at Parkside two years ago but “only served to prolong the life of the building for a few years. It did not solve the critical problem with the building and custody facilities.”

Peterborough will also get a new custody suite, probably through a £6 million refurbishment of Thorpe Wood; the distance is critical to ensure travelling time is kept to a minimum.

Dr Gregson says the radius was chosen to focus on the locality of the majority of arrest sites and to minimise “risks to both detainees and officers” if longer distances were involved.

A more widespread radius may “increase the possibility of death or serious adverse incidents” says the chief executive.

The current cell provision at Parkside is 10 and Dr Gregson says 20 would be required together with a design allowing for future expansion. She says custody data shows an increase on monthly arrest numbers for 2015 and a new police operation is likely to result in further long term cell/custody requirements.

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Her report states that use of the King’s Lynn Police Investigation Centre will stay because of the costs of leaving the contract.

It indicates that land should be procured by March 2017 and that the commercial opportunities for the Parkside site will be investigated.

The proposal for an initial search of land will be discussed by the board on Thursday.