A SCHEME to more than halve the number of custody centres locally have been approved.
Members of Hampshire Police Authority – which holds the purse strings for policing in the county and the Isle of Wight – backed plans to cut the number of centres from 14 to six.
But four new custody suites will be build in Fareham, Hook, Winchester and Newport on the Isle Of Wight.
The move means the total number of cells will rise by 45 to 191.
Chairman of Hampshire Police Federation John Apter said: ‘It’s positive because our current custody provision is not fit for purpose, with the exception of the new Southampton build, so something has to be done and it has to be done as a matter of urgency, but we need to ensure that sensible are considered.’
A preferred option of designing and building the new centres will cost an estimated £67m over 30 years.
This is compared with about £86m if the buildings were leased back from the private sector. Hampshire Constabulary will keep 65 cells at Southampton’s new police station and Portsmouth Central.