Hartlepool's mothballed police cells are set to re-open following election pledges
Hartlepool’s mothballed police station cells are to shortly reopen on a partial basis.
Their future was an issue in both the recent Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election and the town’s Parliamentary by-election.
Critics of the move to mothball the cells in 2019 argued that it unnecessarily meant Hartlepool police officers spent time travelling to and from Middlesbrough transporting suspects when they should have been dealing with ongoing issues here.
The successful Conservative PCC candidate, Steve Turner, said in his opening week in office last month that reopening the custody suite was one of his “first priorities”.
Money has now been spent on refurbishing the suite to make it “safe and fit for purpose” as “an operational resilience suite”.
This means suspects will be held in custody at Hartlepool when cells in Middlesbrough are full or undergoing renovations.
The suite will be used when police undertake pre-planned operations in town and are expecting to make a number of arrests.
Its use will be monitored before a decision is made on whether to reopen it on a regular basis.
Mr Turner and newly-elected Hartlepool Conservative MP Jill Mortimer have now received a tour of the Avenue Road suite from Cleveland Police Chief Inspector Martin Hopps.
Mr Turner said afterwards: “As part of my manifesto, I pledged I would do everything I could to bring the Hartlepool custody suite back into use.
“The 16 cells now provide a state-of-the-art facility, which will be an asset to both Hartlepool and the wider region.
“We’ve spent the money on making sure the cells are safe and fit for purpose.
"They will be used as a key part of our wider estate and understanding how that usage impacts on our overall policing will be key to whether we need to bring them back into regular use.”
Mrs Mortimer, who was also elected last month, added: “This is an election promise I am determined to deliver on.
"The partial re-opening will mean police officers can spend more time policing communities and less time delivering detainees to other suites across Cleveland which is a waste of resource.”