Chief Constable opens £1.2m refurbished custody suite in Skegness Police Station

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Within minutes of the Chief Constable of Lincolnshire arriving at Skegness Police Station to open a refurbished state-of-the-art custody suite, the first detainee was on the way to it.

Chief Constable Paul Gibson was given a tour around the £1,2 million facilities earlier today (Friday) as the ‘robust’ policing plans for the summer along the the coast come into force.

"It is a state-of-the-art facility and an important investment on the east of the county,” he said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It’s really important to have up-to-date facilities to be able to police the community of Skegness in the best way we can.

Chief Constable Paul Gibson has opened the new custody suite at Skegness Police Station.Chief Constable Paul Gibson has opened the new custody suite at Skegness Police Station.
Chief Constable Paul Gibson has opened the new custody suite at Skegness Police Station.

"In a custody suite we have strict guidelines we have to adhere to, so that means we can keep our detainees here in a safe and secure way and ultimately seek justice for victims where that is relevant.

"The investment is very important. We have to make sure we have a custody suite that is fit for purpose and, having walked around here, this is very much that – and it is good to be here to experience the opening day.”

Chief Con Gibson said Skegness was a very important part of what is a large county, so it was vital to have one of Lincolnshire’s custody suites here.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"The investment has come on the back of our estates planning – we must ensure it is fit for purpose and safe.”

Custody Sgt Andy Young ar the reception desk.Custody Sgt Andy Young ar the reception desk.
Custody Sgt Andy Young ar the reception desk.

In the previous 12 months before the custody suite was closed for refurbishment in November 2023, 2011 prisoners used the facilities.

Concerns about aspects of Lincolnshire’s custody suites were highlighed in a report by the HM Inspectorate of Prisons and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services in 2022.

There are four custody suites in Lincolnshire, located at Boston, Grantham, Lincoln and Skegness which during the year of the report saw 9,639 arrivals between January and December 2021. There are 13 cells at Skegness, 14 at Grantham and Boston and 22 at Lincoln.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Inspectors said they found the suites were well-maintained, but the conditions varied with some of the older suites lacking facilities such as sinks, toilets and in-cell toilet flushes.

A cell in the new custody suite.A cell in the new custody suite.
A cell in the new custody suite.

"The lack of facilities in some cells. affects how well detainees can be cared for - especially when staff are busy and unable to respond quickly, for example to requests to use the toilet," they report stated.

There were also potential ligature points in some custody cells, mainly due to the design of toilets, fit of doors and some loose hatches.

However, the report added detainees generally spoke positively about the care they received in custody.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sinks, toilets and in-cell toilet flushes were some of the facilities addressed while the Skegness custody suite was closed. Skegness custody has only had remedial repairs over the years and most of the mechanical and ventilation systems were at the end of life, so when the Force had the opportunity to carry out a full refurbishment of the suite, it was a chance to future-proof the suite and bring it up to the latest ministry of justice specification.

The refirbished Skegness Custody Suite.The refirbished Skegness Custody Suite.
The refirbished Skegness Custody Suite.

The work saw improvements of the heating and ventilation system; installation of new panic alarm, fire alarm, and CCTV systems, as well as a new intercom. Bringing the custody suite up to correct specification also enables us to capture the best evidence for our investigations. It offers improvements to the medical room, interview rooms, and rooms where we take biometrics such as fingerprints and DNA.

Custody Sgt Andy Young took Lincolnshire World for a tour, starting in the booking in area, where it will be assertained who they are and why they are have been arrested. Police officers will also go though a risk assessment with detainees to see if they have any medical conditions and if they need support and help while there.

"We also have to take biametrics, which includes full description, height, hair and eye colour so they can be identified at a later date – along with photograph and fingerprints,” he explained.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We have state-of-the-art disabled facilities, including a toilet next to booking in desk for ease of access.

"We have a range of stock we kep for detainees, including clean blankets, replacement clothing, blue and pink flip flops, washing facilities and safety suits.

"There is a room where breath tests are taken of anyone arrested for drink driving.

"Part of the refurbishment is to replace the outdated heating system so we have new air source heat pumps so we can control the temperature better and be more economical.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We can now control the temerature of detainees’ cells to 18C to 24C.

"We have a new interview room equiped with new furniture – there is a third interview room which is not quite finished yet.

"There is new anti-slip flooring including in the cells.

"All rhe cells are fitted with new style toilets with a basin on top.

"Before we got these we had to flush the toilets from the outside of the cell.

"Cameras are much safer with no blind spots.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"There is a strip across the middle of the cell to help people find their way around.

"We also have new shower and toilet facilities which are disibility compliant for when they are needed.

"There is a new cell door wirth a window for vulnerable people who may have claustrofobia.

"Normally the blind that would be down in default position but we could open for someone with claustrophobia so they can see out.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"There is an exercise yard where they can come out for fresh air – some of it use it to jog up and down to keep themselves fit.

"There is a canopy over the top for when it is raining so they can stay dry.

"We have spruced up the medical room for detainees with medical conditions or those in need of a mental health assessment.

"Everyone has the right to eat and drink and there is a well-equipped room where it is prepared.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We have a range of microwave ready meals along with tea, coffee and water.”

A call system is also fitted to the cells so the detainees can communicate with the custody desk, this will enable custody staff to communicate with the detainees immediately, rather than having to go to cells every time the detainee presses a button.

There is a new fully computerised panic alarm system, rather than just lights on a board.

The old corridor to the Magistrates’ court to create a third interview room which is equipped with a full video interview system, and new furniture as also been installed in all interview rooms.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Chief Constable Gibson added: “The impact of these refurbishments means that we are not only treating prisoners with dignity and respect, but there will also be improved handling of evidence and improved working conditions for our staff and partners, which is bound to have a tremendously positive impact on the quality of our investigative process.

"We have some robust plans for policing over the summertime, we will be targeting our high harm offenders and putting more staff and making sure our neighbourhood policingteams are engaging with people to keep them safe.

"Last year the policing plans were very effective and we will continue to use those and develop and grow them.”

A renovation of the Boston custody suites is also planned, although Lincolnshire Police says they do not have an exact date for this.