South Yorkshire: Site bought for new police custody suite

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South Yorkshire Police has bought the land for a new custody suite serving the Sheffield and Rotherham areas.

Sheffield City Council granted planning permission for the purpose-built centre last month and after clarification was sought on a few conditions, the force has this week bought the land on Shepcote Lane and work is expected to begin in late January 2015.

The building will provide a 50-cell custody suite and will replace existing properties in Ecclesfield, Sheffield city centre and Rotherham.

Chief Superintendent, Rob Odell, said: “The force has to make significant savings from its total budget but at the same time we need a workforce properly equipped to tackle crime and protect the public.”

“Creating modern, more cost effective custody suites for Rotherham/Sheffield, and for Barnsley, is just one part of this process and given the size and scale of the proposed sites, we expect the overall budget will be in the region of £19m.”

“We anticipate that replacing three existing properties within Rotherham and Sheffield with one purpose-built facility will deliver annual savings of approximately £1.2m.” “The majority of this will come from a reduction in staffing but there will be other revenue savings and energy efficiencies too.”

“We are consulting regularly with the staff affected, who are mainly custody sergeants and detention officers, and we hope to achieve the savings through natural wastage.

“Our custody staff have one of the most challenging roles policing South Yorkshire and I am proud of their professionalism in dealing with some of our most difficult customers.”

“Providing an integrated, modern custody building will give those staff a better working environment in which to manage high-risk situations and will help us to return officers to the streets at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Dr Alan Billings, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, said: “I was very pleased to sign the contract for a new custody suite in Shepcote Lane that will serve both Sheffield and Rotherham.”

“This new project is a very good example of how we can still plan intelligently for the future despite reductions in funding. It enables us to close some poor facilities that have been criticised by HM Inspectors. It provides a much better working environment for police staff and those who have to engage with those in custody. And it will be more economical to run, making substantial savings.”

“I congratulate everyone involved with the project.”