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Modernised Hastings custody centre 'fit for the future'

News   •   Aug 29, 2019 14:25 BST

Ch Insp Sarah Godley and Sussex PCC Katy Bourne

Hastings custody centre is re-opening, fully modernised and fit for the future.

The centre becomes operational again on Monday (2 September) having undergone significant refurbishment since it was temporarily closed in October 2017.

The improvements, designed to enhance safety, bring it up to current Home Office standards and include a new air handling system, state-of-the-art CCTV, disabled facilities, calming decor as well as essential works to meet current fire regulations.

On Thursday (29 August) the custody centre was officially re-opened by Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, who supported investment in the centre. She was accompanied by Hastings and Rother district commander Chief Inspector Sarah Godley and local stakeholders.

Katy Bourne said: “With my responsibility for the police estate, I’ve followed the refurbishment works closely and my Independent Custody Visiting Scheme Manager has been instrumental in ensuring that the centre now meets exacting Home Office standards. I’m delighted that after an extensive programme of work to improve safety for staff and detainees alike, Hastings custody centre will now be re-opening.”

Assistant Chief Constable Julia Chapman, said: “By modernising Hastings custody centre we are making the best use of our resources to provide a better, more efficient service.

“The modernised and well-equipped custody centre provides a safe environment for our officers and staff, detainees and visitors.”

The custody centre was last refurbished 20 years ago when Hastings and Rother district commander Chief Inspector Sarah Godley was then a new police constable.

She said: “I’m delighted to be here for the re-opening of the centre, which will enable us to be more effective in keeping people safe and responding to harm.

“For people with complex needs, including mental health and addiction issues, the custody centre is a gateway for further assistance from different support services.

“This centre is state of the art in both technology and our better understanding of how best to support people who come to centres with a variety of vulnerabilities.

“The custody desk has more depth rather than height so that it still provides protection without the intimidation of officers looking from above. There’s a more spacious search area, and facilities are designed with safety in mind.”

Independent custody visitor scheme manager Sarah Friend and David Lewis, estates and strategic project manager (above), have worked closely together to optimise safety and support to officers, staff and detainees. This has led to Hastings being the first custody centre to have its cells painted green, a recommendation by other forces, to provide a calming environment for those with anxiety issues. Other centres will now follow suit.

During the refurbishment detainees were taken to the custody centre at Eastbourne and, although this did not impact on the arrest of detainees in Hastings and Rother, the re-opening of the Hastings centre will allow a more efficient service and will be welcomed by all.