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New custody suite opens at Chelmsford police station

A new custody suite has opened at Chelmsford Police Station following a complete refurbishment.

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The completion of the 18-month long project sees an increase in the number of cells from 11 to 15 and the introduction of Genesys – a one-stop computer system giving custody sergeants the ability to oversee and control activity across the suite from a single screen.

The system, which is the first for custody suites across Essex, gives the user control over entry and exit to custody while alerting them to activated panic alarms and allowing detention officers to see and speak to detainees in their cells via intercom.

The £2 million refurbishment is the third in a long-term program of re-development across the force’s custody suites and opened for use at 6am on Monday, November 12, 2012.

Chief Insp Joe Wrigley, Custody Commander, said: “We have a duty of care towards those who come into our custody and are governed by legislation and codes of practice around this issue.

“Many of those who come into custody do so as a result of some kind of crisis and we need to make sure we are equipped to look after them while making sure they are answerable to the criminal justice process. We also have a duty of care to our staff and have made every effort to create a safe and appropriate environment for them to work in.”

The suite has been designed in line with duty of care codes of practice to minimise opportunities for self harm and the disposal of evidence. It also includes increased CCTV coverage, an observation cell, a disabled toilet and shower area, meal preparation room and exercise yard.

Around 40,000 detainees are held in Essex Police custody every year.

Chief Insp Joe Wrigley added: “Chelmsford is a city with one of the busiest night time economies across the county. Its custody suite is one of the most central and accessible in Essex so we needed to increase provision to meet demand.

“The opening of the new suite means police officers can patrol the town in a more efficient way, returning to the streets more quickly after taking a detainee to a local suite rather than having to travel to another.

“I am really pleased with the look of the facility and delighted we will have it back in the centre of Chelmsford.”

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