Investing in a police force fit for the 21st century
Ensuring that Wiltshire Police has access to the best tools and facilities to provide the highest standard of policing is one of my main priorities as Police and Crime Commissioner. Refurbishment of our current estates is needed and something that my office and I have been and continue to assess.
In March 2022, I approved the plan and the setting aside of £3.724m to fund a course of improvement works at the custody suites at Melksham Station.
I strongly believe that this investment is necessary to ensure Wiltshire Police and its estates are fit for the 21st century and meet Home Office compliance advice, as well as HMICFRS inspection criteria. This in turn will help to improve future Wiltshire Police PEEL reports and overall custody standards.
The works will ensure Wiltshire Police is fit-for-purpose, supplies modern custodial facilities for improved prisoner safety and better evidence collection opportunities to inform investigation and charge outcomes. I’m confident that all areas of policing will reap the benefits of this refurbishment project.
Some improvements have already been made at Melksham, including a series of critical interim mitigation works which were agreed in July 2021 and carried out in 2022 to ensure areas where most risk was carried were addressed.
While the next stages of the project are carried out, Melksham custody suites will be closed for up to eight months from Monday 20 February 2023.
I want to reassure the public that I have worked closely with the Chief Constable to establish an effective operational plan to ensure officers can continue to carry out their all-important duties on the streets, while prisoners are safely transported to the custody suites at Gable Cross Station in Swindon.
Wiltshire Police also recognise the need for mitigation policies to ensure prisoner safety after their release from custody in Swindon, including support for vulnerable prisoners.