Supermarket police cells planned
Published 05/03/2010 | 08:16
Police cells are to be set up in supermarkets and town centres to deal with shoplifters, drunks and yobs, it has been announced.
Officer time will be freed up from not having to return to the station.
Suspects for so-called "low level crimes" will instead be held for up to four hours in secure detention under Home Office proposals.
The cells will speed up the process of taking the fingerprints, DNA and photograph of suspects or issue them with an on-the-spot fine.
Most criminal suspects spend less than 24 hours in police cells and in many cases officers are taken off the frontline simply because suspects refuse to give their name and address.
The Police Federation, which represents officers in England and Wales, has opposed the plans, saying the cells will not be "financially viable".
The moves are part of wider changes to the rules on how police deal with criminal suspects.
Police minister David Hanson said: "The public wants to see officers spending more of their time on the frontline and we are determined to make this happen.
"Through these changes we will help reduce bureaucracy and ensure the police can carry out their key duties on the frontline.
"Making better use of police custody and simplifying bail will add to bureaucracy-cutting measures and free-up even more officer time."