Praise for Norfolk’s police investigation centres (PICs)

Inspectors have today praised Police Investigation Centres (PICs) in Norfolk and Suffolk as a 'benchmark for the quality both of custody provision and of thoroughly planned and executed joint working'.

The six centres at Wymondham, King's Lynn, Aylsham, Great Yarmouth, Bury St Edmunds and Martlesham, opened in 2011, and have so far seen 39,000 detainees pass through the 146 cells.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons carried out an unannounced inspection of the centres in April, and have praised the conditions, staff attitude and practice as well as their collaborative running.

Highlights of today's report include:

<t> The 'clean, bright, spacious environment' with CCTV in all cells.

<t> A 'remarkable degree of consistency in the custody processes and outcomes', with restorative justice used where appropriate.

<t> Well equipped medical rooms, good patient care and a reduction in the numbers of people being held in the PICs under the Mental Health Act.

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Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies' lead for custody services, assistant chief constable Gareth Wilson, said: 'Our network of PICs was designed not only to replace our previous custody suites with purpose-built facilities, but to ensure they remain first class for many years to come, so I am particularly pleased that the two Inspectorates' have recognised this.'

He added the PICs have 'improved considerably' the conditions for both detainees and staff.

Stephen Bett, Norfolk Police Authority chairman said: 'The PICs provide some of the most modern custody facilities in the country and with the endorsement of this inspection will be the envy of other forces.

'They are another step forward for our region benefiting all those who use them, and yet another demonstration of how Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies are working together to provide an outstanding service.'