Final day for Chichester custody centre after 'significant drop' in detainees

Chichester Custody Centre. Picture by Eddie Mitchell
Chichester Custody Centre. Picture by Eddie Mitchell

Chichester custody centre will close today (November 1) as part of Sussex Police's plans to modernise its custody service.

According to police, Chichester's custody centre has had the lowest usage of the six Sussex custody centres.

This led to a decision in June, that it would be of an 'operational benefit' to 'maximise' the use of Durrington custody centre and close the one in Chichester.

However, the plans were branded as 'short-sighted' by some Observer readers with the centre being hailed as a high-tech endeavour when it first opened 16 years ago.

Chief superintendent Jerry Westerman said the decision to close the Chichester custody centre 'has not been taken lightly'.

She added: "It is being driven by a need to make the best use of resources and it is vital that we continue to improve the efficiency of our custody centres and make Sussex fit for the future.

"The savings from closing Chichester will be reinvested into additional staff in investigations and response officers which will boost policing in the area."

Police said, since its peak, the number of detainees in Sussex has reduced by more than half in the last 10 years, with a reduction seen by forces 'across the country'.

A police spokesman added: "The significant drop is due to changes in legislation and alternative disposal options being available, such as community resolutions meaning fewer people going through the traditional custody route."

There has been a proposal for the site to become part of the Southern Gateway project.