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Planned improvement works will start on Wiltshire Police’s custody suites in Melksham next week as investment is needed to ensure the force is fit for the 21st century.
Last year, Wiltshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson approved the £3.7m investment to fund refurbishment works including: mechanical and electrical system upgrades, an improved air lock system, a more secure alarm network and a refresh of the custody desk, offices and cells.
Melksham custody will close on Monday 20 February 2023 and is expected to remain shut for up to eight months until the work is completed. During this time, Wiltshire Police plan to process all detainees at Gablecross Custody in Swindon.
Mr Wilkinson said: “Ensuring the Wiltshire Police have the proper tools and facilities to deliver a high standard of policing is one of my main priorities set out in my Police and Crime Plane.
“I strongly believe that this investment is necessary to ensure Wiltshire Police and its estates are fit for the 21st century and to meet Home Office compliance advice, as well as HMICFRS inspection criteria. This in turn will help to improve future Wiltshire Police PEEL reports and overall custody standards.
“The works will ensure Wiltshire Police supplies modern custodial facilities for improved prisoner safety and better evidence collection opportunities to inform investigation and charge outcomes. I’m confident that all areas of policing will reap the benefits of this refurbishment project.”
Detective Superintendent and Head of Crime Standards and Justice, Guy Elkins has been leading the project from an operational perspective. He said: “Melksham Custody is now 20-years-old and in need of significant investment to ensure it is fit-for-purpose. The closure will of course add to our operational demands, however my team have worked tirelessly to ensure any disruption has been kept to a minimum.
“For those in the community who have concerns, rest assured we will be closely monitoring the performance in the south of the county to ensure our communities are kept safe and those who commit crime continue to be dealt with robustly.
“During the closure we will offer guidance and support to those leaving Swindon Custody so that no matter where you live in the county, upon release from custody you can get home safely.”
To find out more about the closure and the need to invest in the Wiltshire Police estate, please visit www.wiltshire-pcc.gov.uk