Rotherham police cells axed for £19m custody suite

WORK has begun on a new police super-suite which will temporarily house and rehabilitate offenders — and end the era of suspects being kept in the cells at Rotherham’s Main Street police station.

The purpose-built custody suite on Shepcote Lane near the Meadowhall shopping centre will replace existing South Yorkshire Police sites in Ecclesfield, Moss Way, Sheffield and Rotherham.

The £19 million project is designed to reduce staffing costs and improve energy efficiency for the force — an estimated saving of around £1.2 million per year.

It will house 50 cells as well as offices for investigators and other agencies like health and social workers.

Chief Constable David Crompton said: “Custody staff have one of the most challenging roles in policing and the new centre will provide them with integrated, modern facilities to manage high-risk situations and return officers to the streets at the earliest possible opportunity.

“Like every force across the country we have to make significant financial savings but at the same time we need a workforce properly equipped to tackle crime and protect the public.

“It will be a real step forward to see investigating officers and partners co-located with custody staff, providing a more effective service when dealing with some of our most difficult customers.”

Staff numbers will fall naturally as custody sergeants and detention officers retire, the senior cop said.

Building contractor Willmott Dixon moved onto the site last month.

They hope to have the super-station open for use by Spring 2016.

Dr Alan Billings, police and crime commissioner for South Yorkshire, said: “With further government cuts to the police grant and the additional strain on resources, we are continually looking for innovative ways to police South Yorkshire.

“The new modern custody facilities will replace old out of date buildings that are currently inefficient.

“The new facilities will be more eco-friendly with updated technology and provide a better environment for all that use them.”