£2.8m upgrade for custody facilities at police headquarters



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Safety concerns, poor facilities and a failure to meet latest Home Office guidelines are among the reasons given to Tynwald to support spending up to £2.795 million on a new custody block at Douglas police headquarters.

Minister for Home Affairs Juan Watterson said the current block, built in 1979 had awkward corners not covered by CCTV and it also lacked disabled facilities.

Latest food hygiene standards were not met, prisoners could shout to one another and facilities for seeing advocates were poor. In addition space was inadequate, particularly as the option of using extra cells at Lord Street is to be lost, Mr Watterson said. The new cell block will be modular, partly constructed off island before being positioned behind the current police station. The possibility of transferring the modular block erected 20 years ago at Victoria Road prison had been considered but that, too, was outdated and not financially viable.

The death of a prisoner in custody - Michael Joseph Davidson, in 2012 - had brought matters to a head, he said.

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