Concerns raised over closure of Hastings custody suite

Hastings Police Station. ENGSUS00120120208121226
Hastings Police Station. ENGSUS00120120208121226

A retired senior police officer has voiced his concerns over the ongoing closure of Hastings custody suite.

Kevin Moore, former Detective Chief Superintendent at Eastbourne CID, has written to the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Katy Bourne, asking how much the move is costing taxpayers and what impact it was having on frontline officers.

He believes officers are being removed from the streets of Hastings for prolonged periods of time due to them having to travel to Eastbourne.

While the custody centre in Hastings remains shut, Eastbourne’s facilty continues to take in prisoners from Hastings and Rother.

Mr Moore said: “Was any thought given to consulting other bodies, such as defence solicitors, who come from Hastings as surely this must have affected them either through the need to travel much further or indeed the loss of business? How much is this costing in terms of Hastings officers having to travel to Eastbourne to deal with detainees including overtime and travel costs?”

He has also raised the issue of what he says is the ‘woeful shortage of numbers of police officers on the front line response teams’.

A date has yet to be set for the reopening of the custody suite at Hastings police station.

Sussex Police said it was closed in October last year so urgent safety works could be carried out.

Meanwhile, Eastbourne’s police custody centre will continue to take in prisoners from Hastings and Rother.

A spokesman said: “Work has been carried out to make improvements to the fire safety measures within the Hastings custody building which has taken longer than expected.”

Chief Superintendent Nick May, East Sussex Divisional Commander, said: “We had serious concerns for the safety of the site which is why it closed in October and work still needs to be completed to fully open the custody suite.

“There is an ongoing discussion at senior level about what custody facilities the force needs.”

A spokesman for the Sussex PCC said the force will be recruiting more police officers so that by 2022 there will be 200 more than there are now.

He added: “No decision has been made about Hastings and the force and the PCC are still looking at a range of options and recommendations.”