asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners are currently being held on remand in police cells; and what action is being taken by his Department to reduce their numbers.
The number of prisoners held overnight in police cells has fallen to about 35 for the night of 14 April and two for the night of 15 April. The majority of these were untried prisoners. The current need to use police cells is primarily the result of industrial action by members of the Prison Officer's Association at Wandsworth prison. Every effort is being made to resolve this dispute and in the meantime all possible steps are being taken to reduce the numbers held in police cells, for example by transferring prisoners to prisons outside the London area.