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[02 JUL 99] WARWICKSHIRE CONSTABULARY NEWS
Stratford Police Cells Closed

The police cells at Stratford have been closed in a bid by Warwickshire Police force to claw back part of a 4.2 million deficit.

Prisoners from the Stratford area will now be held in cells at Leamington Spa – a move which will save 500,000 a year - although Stratford’s Magistrates court remains unaffected.

The Stratford cells will now only be used for special events and could be open again on Millennium Eve.

Chief Superintendent Derek Cake said the move was part of a countywide review – and was not strictly made to save money.

He said:

"The decision was taken after consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, the courts, the Probation Service and PPS, the private company which transports prisoners.

"The decision was partly financial and partly for health and safety. All cell blocks have to be brought up to a very high quality and standard and it is obviously cheaper to do that to one block than two.

"That standard has less to do with age than issues like the possibility of self harm.

"The Narey Report also requires us to bring people before the court within 24 hours and that has caused a complete review of widespread cell allocation."

The move has sparked fears that officers involved in the moving of prisoners to Leamington will leave the Stratford area under-manned.

Chief Superintendent Cake denies that:

"That has been a criticism but we have made sure that the area around Stratford and Alcester doesn’t suffer. The cells will also be available if needed for certain events."
     

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