Spalding cells will be locked up

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THE cells at Spalding Police Station will shut on Monday for a three-month trial – with offenders to be taken to Boston instead.

Police chiefs are conducting a review of the county’s custody suites in a bid to save cash and are looking to see if closing Spalding’s will work.

Spalding inspector Paul Timmins said the public should not notice a difference in the service they get – with plans to cover for officers forced to travel further to transport offenders.

If Boston is full then anyone arrested would be taken to Grantham.

Insp Timmins said: “We are going to be very careful to make sure we are still providing the service that we are providing now. The public should not see any difference.

“Obviously this has been brought about by the need to make further cost savings – we need to look at all areas.

“If it doesn’t work we will stop straight away but rather than theorising we need to trial it and see if it works.”

Solicitor Mike Alexander said he fears the trial will quickly be made permanent and questioned how savings will be made if officers have to spend longer transporting prisoners further afield and fears it will drag police officers off the streets.

He said: “It is a complete waste of money. This is public money they are spending and public resources not available for the job.”

Custody staff will temporarily move to other stations to cover.

Anyone arrested and charged would have to find their own way home.

Insp Timmins said: “Obviously where there are proper concerns and issues we would try to get people back to the area where they are from but, equally, if somebody is arrested for an offence, particularly a violent one, then why should the taxpayers pay to take them back?”

From September 27, 2010 to the same date this year Spalding custody suite handled 2,695 people. There were 671 from the start of October to the end of December in 2010, the equivalent period of the trial.