Town's police cells back in use

PUBLISHED: 15:17 27 November 2008 | UPDATED: 21:37 31 May 2010

Saffron Walden Police Station

Saffron Walden Police Station

PRISONERS can now be locked-up for short periods in cells at Saffron Walden Police Station, potentially saving hundreds of hours of police time. The new scheme to make better use of the custody facility means that officers will spend less time carting s

PRISONERS can now be locked-up for short periods in cells at Saffron Walden Police Station, potentially saving hundreds of hours of police time.

The new scheme to make better use of the custody facility means that officers will spend less time carting suspects to larger stations at Braintree or Bishop's Stortford.

Chairman of Essex Police Authority Robert Chambers said he was delighted with the new approach and that the use of the cells would benefit policing in the local community.

He added: "I see this as the first step towards achieving the previously declared longer term aim of having the cells and associated facilities properly refurbished and made fully available for our officers to use."

Certain offences and offenders will now be dealt with at Saffron Walden by using the custody facilities for one or two days a month.

The cells, which for the last few years have acted as store rooms, were used in the new scheme for the first time last Thursday.

Fourteen offenders were seen on one day, which resulted in six charges and eight people being bailed pending further enquiries.

Each prisoner seen at Saffron Walden station prevents two officers from making a return journey out of the district to another station with custody facilities.

So, for the 14 prisoners, more

than one hundred hours of police time was saved, enabling officers to be used for police work within Uttlesford District.

District commander Chf Insp Joe Wrigley said: "I have been planning to implement this surgery approach to using our custody facility since I arrived, and with great support from my staff have been able to achieve it.

"This is great news for the communities of Uttlesford and I intend that we can report a regular saving in terms of officer abstractions away from the district, a better service to the communities we police and a more efficient service to those unfortunate enough to be the victims of crime.

"I must stress that this in no way plays down the need to arrest those for more serious offences and take them into custody to face the justice process - such offenders will be dealt with in the traditional robust way."

Prisoners can be held at Saffron Walden for a maximum of six hours.

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