Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.  
Commissioner's Office: 01707 806100
Consultation on Watford Custody provision
Hertfordshire Constabulary has announced that it is planning to permanently close the custody suite at Watford police station.  The facility is currently closed temporarily and following a review of custody provision around the county ahead of plans to collaborate facilities with Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire it has been decided to make the closure permanent.
 
Demand for custody cells has reduced considerably as crime has fallen so it has been decided to concentrate provision in the larger more modern facilities at Stevenage and Hatfield and to close the smaller and older facilities at Watford and Hoddesdon.  Money saved on closing underused facilities will re invested in protecting local policing services in the future.
 
It will be business as usual for the rest of the policing team at Watford Police station.

The front enquiry office at Watford will remain open and the station will still provide a 24:7 base for front line staff including intervention and neighbourhood policing officers, local crime investigation and senior officers.
 
There would be no loss of police officers serving the borough and considerable work around the impact of prisoner management has been undertaken as ahead of the engagement starting.
 
This involves developing contingency plans for additional travel time for Watford and Three Rivers prisoners to the most suitable location which is likely to be Hatfield.
 
These plans have already been well tested and proved successful following the temporary closure of Watford custody in August to accommodate the staffing demands for force-wide training in the Athena computer system which goes live in early 2016.
 
Chief Constable Andy Bliss said:  “By rationalising our custody function from four to two locations there is the potential to release staff to tackle new emerging crime demands such as domestic abuse and child exploitation. By concentrating our resources on our two modern and well-equipped centrally based custody centres, my aim is to deal with arrested people in the most efficient way possible. This helps me to keep the public and my officers safe and ensure that arrested people are detained in suitable conditions.”
 
Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: “As commissioner I have a duty to scrutinise the operational management of the force and will continue to encourage innovation and best use of resources as well as providing the best possible service to the people of Hertfordshire. I am confident that these plans don’t affect the number of frontline police officers working in Watford and the station will remain a 24:7 base.
 
“The period of consultation will involve key partners and the public and I am keen to hear everyone’s views. “
 
The staff consultation period is 30 days and then a final decision will be made.
 
Anyone wishing to make a comment on the proposals can contact the commissioner at Harpenden Police Station, 15 Vaughan Road, Harpenden AL5 4GZ or email commissioner@herts.pnn.police.uk by October 23, 2015.