PHOTOS: Take a tour of Kingston police's new 'custody suite' and get a peek inside the cells (From Surrey Comet)
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PHOTOS: Take a tour of Kingston police's new 'custody suite' and get a peek inside the cells
Take a good look – this is where you could end up if you are naughty on a night out in Kingston.
From next month, people arrested in the borough, and in Richmond, will be locked up in Kingston police’s new cell block.
Officers led a tour of the cells yesterday afternoon for community leaders and Kingston Council chief executive Bruce McDonald.
There are no bars, only hatches, and no more two-way mirrors in interview rooms.
Each of the 20 cells is monitored by CCTV, and officers have the ability to listen in on detainees’ phone calls.
The décor is hospital-chic.
There are eight microwaves for preparing meals for prisoners, along with stacks of polystyrene takeaway trays.
New borough commander Superintendent Glenn Tunstall said prisoners’ safety was “paramount” in the new design, and that they should leave “in either the same or a better medical condition” than when they arrived.
He said: “The biggest improvement has got to be safety. There is so much learning from 175 years of running custody suites and detaining prisoners that has been built in.”
Supt Tunstall, who trained as a custody sergeant in Kingston, described the old block as “antiquated”.
As in any new build, there were some snags.
The lock on the only toilet outside the cells is to be changed, because it cannot be opened from the outside.
And a pepper-spray decontamination room vents directly out by the back door – so anyone waiting to be taken inside will be blasted.
Mr McDonald spent a few minutes locked up for the cameras. He said: “I enjoyed my visit, particularly because it was brief.
“I have never been in the cells before. I am very impressed – it is good to see the investment that has been made in Kingston.”
John Azah, director of Kingston Race and Equalities Council, suggested the new cells might be too comfortable.
He said: “In a way you could as a critic say it gives the impression that they are a bit nice. This is just two centuries removed from what we had before.”
But he added: “In terms of regional hubs this gives us a resource which continues to reaffirm that Kingston is a strategic place in the development of the Met.”
Conservative London Assembly member Tony Arbour said: "I think it is going to be a marvellous aid to policing in the two boroughs.
"The economies of scale are going to be tremendous."
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