Waterside PSNI station will open its new custody suite, which is expected to hold between 400 and 500 people a week, today.
The £15 million suite will provide custody provision for the whole of the North West, from Coleraine to Strabane.
PSNI lice Service of Northern Ireland Assistant Chief Constable Ryan Henderson said the new 21-cell suite will enable detainees to have their needs met to a greater degree than before.
“It gives us 21-cell provision here in an ultra modern, fit for purpose, custody facility, which has been designed by the people who will be working within it,” he said.
“With the facilities we have here, it just makes it a really good place, a bright place for our staff to work within and for those detainees to be kept with us in a way that makes sure we do our duty to them, our duty of care to them, in a way that absolutely meets the standards that a modern custody suite must.”
As part of a regional custody healthcare service, there will be an embedded healthcare model, led by nurse practitioners, within Waterside Custody Suite.
Six specially trained Custody Nurse Practitioners (CNPs) appointed by Belfast Health and Social Care Trust will work as part of the custody team. CNPs from an Acute Care background will assess, treat and, when necessary, refer detainees on as appropriate.
“What police tend to see within the custody suites is that it’s very much the front line of some of the crises that are facing people across Northern Ireland. So many of the detainees who come through here have got needs in terms of addiction, healthcare, literacy, a lot of real complex issues.
“Here’s an opportunity to actually have some of those needs met in a way that thinks about them, not just as someone who’s in the custody provision but as someone who needs greater support.”
Anyone detained, and who previously would have been taken into custody at Strand Road and Coleraine, will now go to Waterside. Strand Road Custody Suite has now closed while the Coleraine Suite will continue to be used on an ad-hoc basis.
“Our long term plan for our custody provision is to build fewer but bigger purpose built custody suites,” Assistant Chief Constable Henderson said.
“It allows us to invest in a facility that just far better meets the needs of the detainees. The previous accommodation we had is night and day compared to what we have here now.”
Waterside Suite has a dedicated sight-link court room with direct access to any courtroom in Northern Ireland.
The Custody Suite has been designed to include provision for detainees who are vulnerable, in particular those with neurodiversity needs and those with disabilities.
The cells all have translucent windows which allow as much natural light in as possible.
Lights can be dimmed if needed.
Four of the cells have LED screens to assist in communication with vulnerable detainees, and exercise yards at the end of each cell wing.Tags: