Skip to main content

Police Cells

Volume 456: debated on Wednesday 31 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to provide extra emergency cells in London to ensure that prisoners no longer have to sleep overnight in court cells. (110898)

[holding answer 29 January 2007]: The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) aims to maximize the use of all available space within the prison estate. This allows spaces to be made available in London to manage the increasing demand for prison places by the courts. The Chief Executive of NOMS formally reactivated Operation Safeguard on Monday 22 January. The Metropolitan Police Service has made a number of places available.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the capacity is of police cells in England and Wales; and how many of these cells are occupied by prisoners relocated there under Operation Safeguard. (110899)

[holding answer 23 January 2007]: The capacity of police cells in England and Wales is not held centrally.

The number of prisoners held in police cells varies on a daily basis and is dependent on court activity and the management of regional prison population pressures. We aim to hold prisoners in police cells for the minimum period and not more than a few days, unless they are appearing regularly at a local court. Under the reactivation of Operation Safeguard, triggered on 22 January 2007, there are approximately 400 places available nationally.