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Sue makes custody decision

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens

Custody services will continue to be run by staff of Avon and Somerset Police following an extensive review.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens examined two detailed business cases including an in-house model run by police staff and an option to outsource parts of police custody to a private company.

This summer three new custody centres will open housing more cells in centralised locations. This gave the Constabulary the opportunity to reshape its custody services including exploring whether a private company could run parts of police custody more cost effectively.

The business cases showed that if a private company was to run custody services within Avon and Somerset it would be £599,000 more expensive over four-years, than remaining with a model run by police staff.

Sue Mountstevens said: “I was very clear that there had to be savings from an outsourced model. After carefully considering both options it is clear that there are no guaranteed savings to be made in the four-years of the contract.

“Looking after some of the most vulnerable members of our community in police custody can be difficult and high risk. Custody services in Avon and Somerset will continue to be run by experienced and dedicated police staff as it has been for many successful years.”

Chief Constable Nick Gargan said: “This was a very close run decision but of course, the Police and Crime Commissioner must have the ultimate say. We respect her decision and will work with vigour and determination to ensure the new in-house arrangements are a success”

Three new custody and investigation centres will open in Bridgwater, Patchway and Keynsham and eight custody facilities across Avon and Somerset will close.

Sue Mountstevens added: “I am supportive of the Constabulary for exploring all options for running custody services. We still have considerable savings to find over the coming years and it is absolutely right that we look at everything. I believe that working with the custody staff additional savings can be found and these areas need to be explored.

“I have a duty to Avon and Somerset taxpayers to be as efficient and effective as possible with their money. The new custody centres and new smarter ways of working within custody will mean that this area of the organisation will generate much needed savings.”

Further information about the decision can be found here.

Posted on Friday 31st January 2014
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