Custody cells to reopen for festive period

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SPALDING’S police cells will be temporarily reopened over the Christmas and New Year period to help ease the strain on custody space.

The custody suite has been closed since September as part of a money-saving trial, with offenders instead being transported to Boston Police Station.

Lincolnshire Police have confirmed the facility in Spalding will be open again from tomorrow in the evenings until December 27 and from December 31 to January 3.

Spalding inspector Chris Davison said the trial closure of the town’s custody suite is still ongoing.

He said: “The reopening is purely because the demand over Christmas and New Year for cells increases. We are increasing capacity during that period.

“The trial period is not over yet and we are still collating figures about how it’s all worked out.”

AInsp Davison said Spalding’s custody suite is also being used on certain days to allow suspected offenders to answer bail.

He said it was helping to cut down officer time travelling to and from Boston.

However, some solicitors covering Spalding have raised doubts about the changes.

Solicitor Mike Alexander, of Criminal Defence Associates, said: “The fact that they have opened it for the Christmas period makes it more convenient.

“If that is the case, why are they bothering at all? Either they are going to open it to make it more convenient all the time or they’re not.

“The other thing I do not understand is they said they were doing it for a three-month trial period and that would be due to end in December.

“This is a done deal and always has been a done deal.”

Dav Naghen, of Maples Solicitors, said he thinks the Christmas and New Year opening “raises a valid point” about why the cells would not be open every weekend of the year.

He said there was a drinking culture on a Thursday, as well as a Friday and Saturday night.

However, he said he did not think the public would care if offenders are kept waiting - but may have an issue if they are not “getting the service they deserve”.

He added: “The real question that comes out is do the public feel they are suffering and do they believe the police when they say there is no interruption to the service.”