Work on a new and improved custody facility for people who are arrested in the Nottingham area is progressing on time and on budget – despite the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Work began on a new purpose-built custody suite on derelict land off Radford Road in March of this year.
The new 50-cell facility is on track to open to the public in May 2020, with the shell of the building largely complete and all ground floor cell-blocks now in place.
Nottinghamshire Police’s existing Bridewell Custody Suite is no longer considered fit for purpose but would require lengthy and expensive building work to bring up to modern standards.
For that reason the Force decided to build an entirely new, bespoke facility to serve the county for decades to come.
Once complete the building will contain a state-of-the art ground floor prisoner processing area leading to 50 individual cells and interview rooms. Upstairs the building will contain extensive office space for members of the prisoner handling team – police officers and civilians who review and process the cases of each arrested person who comes in.
Superintendent Paul Winter, leading the project on behalf of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Most people will never end up in a custody suite like this, but for those who do it is vital that they are treated with dignity, housed in appropriate conditions and processed efficiently.
“After starting this project with a blank canvas we completed a significant amount of research locally and nationally to ensure that this new building will meet he needs of all of our citizens for decades to come.
“We realise that for many people ending up in custody can be a distressing and bewildering experience – especially for vulnerable youngsters, people with disabilities, and other with more hidden conditions like autism. To this end we have worked with academics from Nottingham and Nottingham Trent Universities to ensure the latest research informs the design.
“By getting this first step in the judicial process right – and also providing a more comfortable environment for our staff to work in – I firmly believe this project will bring real benefits to everyone in the county.
“Considering our contractor Willmott Dixon commenced the clearance and building stage of this project right at the start for the national lockdown period excellent progress has been on site and we are currently ahead of schedule and under budget.”
Building work on the site is expected to be completed early in 2021, with the site becoming fully operational in May.The current Bridewell Custody suite will remain open until the new facility is operational, but the building is being marketed for re-development.
Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “The development is coming on well and it is credit to everyone involved that despite the current challenges the project is on time and budget.
“This building will provide better conditions for both staff and detainees, including those who are vulnerable. It will be more efficient, modern and economical to run that the current Bridewell, in line with our commitment to environmentally-friendly buildings, while also delivering savings on ongoing maintenance and repairs.”
James Eliment, Senior Operations Manager at Willmott Dixon, said:
“Willmott Dixon are pleased to be supporting and working with Nottinghamshire Police in this state of the art custody project. It enhances our custodial portfolio and pushes the development of the latest design thinking for new custody suites.
“It is has been an exciting journey to date which has benefited from a strong collaborative approach. This approach has allowed for a forward thinking, functional suite which takes into account the complex operational needs of a modern facility.Progress on site is going well with the completion of the structural frame and the imminent start of the internal works.
“It has been a challenge to maintain the programme during these difficult and uncertain times, but by working closely with Nottinghamshire we have been able to overcome any potential delays to the project. We look forward to completing the project on time and see it in full operational use.”