Uncertainty over plans for 50 police cells in Gloucestershire
PLANS to spend £11million building 50 new police cells for Gloucestershire are set to come under scrutiny for a second time.
The police authority drew up the plans to replace outdated cells in Gloucester, Cheltenham and Stroud and they were given the nod in November.
But new Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Martin Surl has now called them in for an independent review.
Mr Surl said: "I realise a lot of research and development work has already gone into this project but I want to be certain it is the most effective option and gives the best value for money."
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The new custody suite would be built next to Gloucestershire Constabulary's headquarters in Waterwells Business Park. It would include 50 cells, interview rooms and offices.
A round trip from the city centre to Quedgeley takes about 40 minutes but it is claimed the new custody suite would actually save "considerable" officer time.
Mr Surl's office said the facility would have three entrances, seven charge desks, 10 holding cells and up to three custody officers on duty.
It is also claimed the time saved would "far outweigh" the extra fuel used transporting people to the cells.
If the commissioner gives the go-ahead, cells in Cheltenham and Gloucester police stations would be shut down, as would overflow cells in Stroud. The stations would remain open. Work could begin on the building as early as May and it would be completed by August next year.
Mr Surl said "doing nothing" or investing in the existing cells was untenable but it was also "vital" not to waste money.
Quedgeley resident Barry Kirby said: "I think it's a good thing to review them.
"I don't think there are any major problems with them but there was always that nagging issue at the back of people's minds about people who have been arested then being let out into the neighbourhood."