Police have proposed to reopen Hastings custody centre

Sussex Police has proposed to reopen Hastings custody centre permanently once essential work to make the centre safe is completed.

Friday, 15th June 2018, 9:56 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 4:49 pm
Custody centre

The move comes as part of a drive by the force to modernise and update its custody service across Sussex for the first time since 2002.

The centre in Hastings, which has been closed since October, requires significant development to meet fire safety regulations and provide a safe environment, police said.

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “I will be considering the proposal to invest in and modernise Hastings custody centre, which I know will be warmly welcomed by many officers and local residents and legal professionals.

“The custody centres of Sussex Police are part of the wider police estate for which I have a statutory responsibility.

“I need to ensure there are sufficient and appropriate facilities for detainees and police officers.

“Any decision to maintain, close or move any of the custody suites is primarily an operational decision informed by a thorough evidence-based assessment.

“Working with chief officers, we must also consider whether facilities are safe for vulnerable and distressed individuals.”

Sussex Police’s custody estate comprises six centres based at Worthing, Crawley, Chichester, Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings.

Since its peak the number of detainees in Sussex has reduced by more than half in the last 10 years, with a reduction seen by forces across the country, a police spokesman said.

This significant drop is due to changes in legislation and alternative disposal options being available, such as cautions and community resolutions, meaning fewer people going through the traditional custody route, said the spokesman.

Police have proposed to close its custody centre in Chichester, which it said has the lowest usage of the six custody centres.

A spokesman said the decision had ‘not been taken lightly’ but was driven by a need to make the best use of resources, with savings being reinvested to provide extra resources within local policing, with additional investigations and response officers.

Chief Constable Giles York said: “It is vital that we continue to improve the efficiency of our custody centres and make Sussex fit for the future.

“The decisions we have made are driven by a need to make the best use of our resources and will lead to dedicated resources at custody centres and a better service to officers, staff, detainees and visitors.

“Introducing new approaches, optimising working practices and strengthening how we work with partners means we continue to modernise so that we keep pace with and meet the significant changing demands of our service.”