Hartlepool police custody suite to be 'mothballed'

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image captionA custody suite in Hartlepool will be "mothballed" in early 2019, according to Cleveland Police

A custody suite used by an average of just four people a day is set to close in a bid to make savings.

Cleveland Police plans to "mothball" the Hartlepool suite and take arrested people to Middlesbrough instead.

A force spokesman said the closure would take place in early 2019, but it could be reopened if needed.

Assistant Chief Constable Adrian Roberts said the time needed for officers to travel between the two towns "can be managed appropriately".

A force spokesman said the move would "reduce costs and make savings" but has not revealed the finances behind it.

"Staff consultation is under way and further details will be published in due course," he added.

The BBC recently spent a night in Hartlepool with the Cleveland force, which has seen its budget cut by almost £40m since 2010.

media captionThe town where 'police don’t come out’

People who are vulnerable or require medical attention are already taken to Middlesbrough from across the force area as the suite has healthcare workers permanently on site as well as other support services.

Mr Roberts said the welfare of arrested people was a "key concern" and by taking them to a "purpose-built facility" in Middlesbrough "they are able to access any necessary support services at the earliest opportunities".

He said: "We've tested the timings for any additional officer journeys and feel that this can be managed appropriately against our demand, whilst providing the best service we can to the public.

"Policing has changed and we must constantly adapt to new ways of working to meet the challenge of keeping people safe with the resources that are available to us."

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