Calls to make police station cells nicer

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SUNDERLAND police have been ordered to clean up their act and make cells nicer for prisoners.

 Poor quality food, no privacy going to the toilet, and loo paper only available on request were some of the issues raised after an in-depth inspection of Wearside custody suites.

 The HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary) check-up also found cells ingrained with blood and faeces, litter – including a used examination glove – and graffiti on walls.

 Inspectors complained of poor ventilation and strong smelling drains at Washington station, and a cramped booking-in area at Gill Bridge.

 Other areas of concern raised included meals with a low calorific value, and detainees kept handcuffed for long periods of time.

 Invasion of privacy was another major complaint, with CCTV cameras watching detainees while they went to the toilet.

 Juveniles were also often treated the same as adults, with reports of a 12-year-old in tears being ignored by staff, and a 14-year-old being left in handcuffs for a long period of time at stations across the force area.

 Superintendent Vince Stubbs, of Northumbria Police, said: “Custody suites are very busy, dynamic operational environments and there were more than 72,000 detainees processed through them last year.

 “We take our commitment to the welfare of all detainees very seriously and welcome the findings in the report, which highlights what we do well and areas where we can improve.

 “A full review of our custody provision was ongoing at the time of the inspection and steps have been taken.”

l Comment– Page 18