THE decision to shut cells at Rugby Police Station should be reversed, according to Warwickshire’s police commissioner candidates.
Both Labour and Conservative hopefuls and the contest’s independent candidate are worried officers from Rugby spend too long ferrying suspects to cells in nearby Nuneaton. Police commissioners will replace Warwickshire Police Authority from November in elections that will take place across Warwickshire on November 15.
Conservative Fraser Pithie first commented on the matter at the end of last month.
He said: “It’s no picnic for Rugby police officers to spend as much as 50 minutes getting to Nuneaton via the M6, especially if they’re conveying a violent prisoner.
“Add to this the booking in procedure and the journey time back to Rugby, most people can see it’s not efficient and it reduces the area’s police cover.”
He added: “If elected I will revisit a very sensible proposal put forward by the Rugby Community Safety Partnership (CSP) several months ago that would, if it had been accepted, provide a temporary custody facility at Rugby for several hours, with transport by prison van later.”
The cells at Rugby station were revamped around two years ago, but have spent the majority of time since then lying dormant in an effort to save costs.
James Plaskitt – speaking at Rugby college last week to an audience of Rugby Neighbourhood Watch members – said: “I will order the re-opening of the custody suite in Rugby police station. It’s a fully refurbished and equipped facility, funded by Rugby taxpayers, and it’s lying idle.
“This makes no sense to me.”
Mr Plaskitt added: “Too much valuable officer time is being spent running a ferrying service up to Nuneaton and back. This takes officers away from the streets of Rugby, often at busy times. Officers tell me they would rather be here doing their job for the town, and not taxiing offenders back and forth to Nuneaton.”
Ron Ball, independent candidate, said there was no question re-opening cells would make a big difference to policing in Rugby.
“On this I’m in complete agreement with the other candidates. Based on discussions I’ve had with officers in Rugby it could save them an enormous amount of time if they didn’t have to spend so long travelling.”