North West Wales

North Wales Police close cells costing more than hotel

Prison cell and hotel room Image copyright Getty Images

Police cells in Gwynedd are being closed after it emerged they cost more to keep people in than a luxury hotel.

To keep people in custody at Dolgellau's police station costs £623 a night while a room at London's Savoy Hotel starts at £464.

The closure will save North Wales Police £300,000 a year.

"We are left with no alternative particularly when it comes to the safety of detainees and staff," said Chief Constable Mark Polin.

It was found cells at the station were under used, averaging one detainee a day with half of those being held for six hours or less.

As a result, the cost per prisoner in Dolgellau was more than twice that of the other police cells in north Wales.

The price per prisoner in Caernarfon is £261, the cost in St Asaph is £265 and the equivalent figure for Wrexham is £242.

The custody facilities in Dolgellau were also judged not compliant with authorised police practice, with detainees and staff working there at risk.

Only viable option

Mr Polin added: "The decision to close Dolgellau Custody Unit is an operational one and it has been taken following a period of detailed discussion.

"On average only one prisoner a day is detained in Dolgellau custody making any consideration of rebuilding or modernising financially none viable.

"Savings made from closure will be reinvested into additional officers for south Gwynedd as I am committed in ensuring the area remains one of the safest places in the UK."

The money saved will go towards paying for extra sergeants and four constables for the Safer Neighbourhood Team covering Meirionnydd.

The decision has been endorsed by the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Arfon Jones, who described it as the "only viable option".

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