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Police consider outsourcing custody suites
9:41am Friday 23rd August 2013 in News
AVON and Somerset Police are considering outsourcing their custody suites, prisoner transport and identification services to private firms.
The changes would see these services being taken over by the private sector by as early as next April but any decision would need approval from the Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens.
Services in Lincolnshire, Cleveland and Thames Valley have already undertaken these changes in a move they say could save thousands of pounds.
A statement from Avon and Somerset Police said: “We’re looking at the possibility of contracting a private sector partner to deliver custody staffing, detainee transport and identification services.
“Other forces have gone down this route with very positive results for the service and for staff.
“We will give any proposal very careful consideration before we make a final recommendation and staff will be kept informed at each stage in the process.”
Chief Constable Nick Gargan said the changes could save “several hundreds of thousands of pounds” a year.
Ms Mountstevens said: "Any decision I take will be about delivering the best services to communities and enabling frontline officers to do their job most effectively.”
Avon and Somerset Police is already reducing the number of custody suites it has across the force area, and is building three larger centres under Private Finance Initiative.
They include one at Express Park, Bridgwater, which could be completed by the end of the year.
That would include 36 custody cells, replacing existing custody facilities at Taunton and Bridgwater, as well as a specialist crime investigation team, accommodation for the Criminal Investigation Department, crime scene investigators, patrol and neighbourhood teams, as well as administrative and support functions, and specialist functions such as firearms, dogs and road policing units.
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