Closing police cells is ‘nonsensical’

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THE CLOSURE of the cells at Spalding Police Station has been slammed as “totally bereft of common sense” by a pub landlord.

Last week we revealed that police chiefs have chosen to shut the custody suite for three months in a bid to save cash – with offenders from here transported to Boston’s cells instead.

Punchbowl owner Pete Williams was shocked to see the news and fears it will take officers off the streets for too long while they have to drive people to Boston. If Boston’s cells are full offenders would then be taken on to Grantham.

Last week we revealed the Spalding custody suite handled 2,695 people in the last calendar year – the equivalent of about 52 a week.

Mr Williams said: “I have spoken to a few police officers and they are gobsmacked by this. This whole idea is totally bereft of common sense - why hasn’t somebody else sat down and looked at these figures?”

The cells shut on Monday but the force says they can be reopened sooner if the trial does not work and they will be open for Christmas and New Year.

The decision has been defended by Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable Richard Crompton this week.

He said: “In an effort to save money and protect police officer and support staff posts, we are embarking on the trial closure of the Spalding Custody facility.

“This is in effect, a three-month experiment. There will be some trade off with regard to time spent transporting prisoners, but people can be reassured that although the trial is being undertaken in order to assess the potential to make financial savings, this must be done without any detrimental effect to our operations.

“If things go to plan, members of of the general public should not notice any change in service. If there are any unforeseen negative consequences, we will look again, and if need be, return to the current situation”.

Mr Williams said: “I sympathise with the police. The thing is they did not join to be accountants. They’re there because they are good at policing not because they are good at running budgets.

“It’s so wrong that the Government are forcing them to do this. The police can’t strike and they aren’t in a position to argue - it’s totally dictatorial.”