Somerset

Avon and Somerset Police open multimillion-pound Bridgwater custody suites

New custody suites in Bridgwater, Somerset
Image caption The 36-cell facility in Bridgwater replaces smaller centres in Taunton and Weston-super-Mare

A new multimillion-pound police centre has been opened in Somerset.

The 36-cell facility in Bridgwater replaces smaller centres in Taunton and Weston-super-Mare which have been shut.

The 24/7 centre, which includes office space for 700 staff, a roof garden and a police inquiries desk, is expected to process about 9,000 detainees a year.

Assistant Chief Constable Kay Wozniak said: "We believe these will be the best custody facilities that policing can offer."

The building, along with two 48-cell facilities in Keynsham and Patchway, replace 10 custody suites across the region and will increase the force's "custody capacity" by 27%.

Image caption The centre will house custody facilities teams, dogs unit and firearms unit among others

Ms Wozniak, said the force's former stations had been "completely inappropriate" and the new police centres would improve the custody process.

"Although an officer will be required to bring the detained person here, within a matter of 10 to 15 minutes that officer will be relieved of all other responsibilities in relation to that detainee and will be back in their local neighbourhood policing the streets," she said.

The centre, which was delayed due to a few "snagging issues", will house Avon and Somerset Police's custody facilities teams, dogs unit and firearms unit among others.

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