Buxton Police Station custody suite set to close in July

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Police chiefs have rubber-stamped plans to close the custody suite at Buxton Silverlands Police Station - which is set to shut on July 1.

Under the proposals detainees arrested by High Peak officers would be driven to cells at Greater Manchester police stations or Chesterfield Police Station.

Derbyshire Police’s proposal comes following an independent review showing how on average Buxton managed less than 10 per cent of the detainees at Derby custody suites in the south of the county.

The new arrangement would mean during an average week roughly half of detainees from Glossop, Hayfield, New Mills and Whaley Bridge would be transported to either Ashton or Cheadle police stations in Grtr Mtr.

While the other half comprised of detainees travelling from Chinley, Chapel, Hope Valley and Buxton would be driven to Chesterfield Police Station.

Two full-time custody investigation unit posts would be created at Chesterfield Police Station to deal with detainees for High Peak officers - freeing them up to return to the district.

Assistant Chief Constable Kem Mehmet told Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa on Monday how these roles would work as a ‘reception’ and ‘take control of detainees’ ‘allowing local officers to return much quicker’.

As he presented the operational efficiencies report to Derbyshire Police’s strategic assurance board Mr Mehmet told how an independent review suggested the two new CIU posts would be the ‘equivalent of another 1.8 full-time officers’ in the High Peak.

The announcement of the plans in May last year was met with widespread condemnation - with members of the public fearing officers may spend ‘hours’ driving across greater Manchester searching for available suites.

However Mr Mehmet said: “There are two suites - Ashton and Cheadle and that’s it. That’s where they’ll be going - they won’t be going all the way across Greater Manchester.”

He also assured Mr Dhindsa that ‘Derbyshire officers would be directed by Derbyshire staff’ and ‘Greater Manchester suites will do everything as we do it here’.

The report sets out how shutting the suite would mean a saving of £195,233 while £293,000 refurbishments costs would also be saved - with ‘any savings being reinvested into local policing’.

Mr Mehmet said ‘an additional 10.3 officers’ would be allocated specifically to the High Peak with an additional 50.6 officers in the North Division as a whole.

He told how the additional officers could be moved if new custody arrangements created problems, saying ‘as Derbyshire constabulary we can move resources anywhere’.

The officer said during a three-month consultation period officers would get together for a ‘table-top exercise’ and ‘figure out what it looks like travelling between the sites’.

He said: “It really is important for us to achieve maximum efficiency both operationally and financially - it’s difficult to justify Buxton custody suite’s continued usage.”