Call for reopening of Hartlepool Police Station custody suite

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill is campaigning for the town police station’s custody suite to be reopened especially on a weekend.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 30th January 2020, 4:32 pm

Mr Hill has written to Cleveland Police Chief Constable Richard Lewis to encourage the suite to be brought back into use after it was mothballed early last year.

It means suspects arrested in Hartlepool now have to be taken to Middlesbrough to be held and processed or East Durham if cells are full, says Mr Hill.

He says it is a waste of valuable police time, and the Hartlepool suite ought to be used if only at weekends when he says street crime peaks.

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The custody suite is located at the Avenue Road police station.
The custody suite is located at the Avenue Road police station.

In the letter, Mr Hill writes: “We have a perfectly functional suite here in Hartlepool that could be used to fulfil its purpose.

“It would be of great benefit to the town if it were possible to reopen the cells full time, however, as resources will not stretch that far, even weekends would put minds at ease.

“I would be grateful if you could review this urgently within the scope of what you are able to do with limited resources.”

The Hartlepool custody suite at the police station in Avenue Road was mothballed in early 2019 before Chief Constable Lewis joined the force in the summer.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill

Cleveland Police insisted the Middlesbrough facility is better equipped to deal with suspects, but says it will look more closely at the issue once it has addressed more urgent issues.

It comes after the force was found to be inadequate by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) last September.

A spokesperson for Cleveland Police said: “The operational needs of the Force are constantly under review, including the use of Hartlepool custody suite.

“However, the purpose-built custody suite in Middlesbrough better caters for the needs of vulnerable people or those in need of medical attention, with support services and healthcare practitioners on site 24 hours a day.

“When we have addressed the urgent operational improvements needed at Cleveland Police, we can look more closely at this issue.

“Over the coming weeks we will see a significant investment in neighbourhood policing in Hartlepool which is the next stage of our commitment to the town.”