Police cells changes mean more suspects arriving

Wigan Police Station
Wigan Police Station

Police will soon bring more suspects to the borough due to plans to close a nearby town’s custody suite.

The cells at Bolton police station will not be used from August 1, so people who have been arrested in Bolton will be taken to other police stations.

There isn’t a need for the number of cells that we have and following on from a review into the custody suite in Bolton a decision has now been made for this to close

Supt Chris Hankinson

Suspects from Westhoughton, Horwich and Blackrod will go to Wigan police station, while others will go to Bury and Swinton.

Supt Chris Hankinson said: “We are dealing with more people through forms of restorative justice and alternatives to custody. With the changes to local policing, which have focused on having one officer to take charge of the case, we will see shorter times in custody.

“There isn’t a need for the number of cells that we have and following on from a review into the use of our custody suite at our station on Scholey Street in Bolton a decision has now been made for this to close. The station will however be on standby in order to manage one off events or to support short term closures of other sites.

“I would like to take this opportunity to reassure the people of Greater Manchester that the service that we provide will not be affected.

“We will continue to prioritise working with partner agencies to intervene at the earliest opportunity to try and divert people from ending up in the criminal justice system and to reduce the likelihood of re-offending.”

It is understood the custody suite at Wigan is currently closed for two weeks, but police have not said why.

The Legal Aid Agency is consulting on its duty solicitor scheme for Bolton. Options include merging with Wigan, though the preferred option is to merge with Salford.

One duty solicitor said: “I don’t think that it would greatly increase our workload if all of the Bolton solicitors were pooled with Wigan, but it would dilute the work available for Wigan solicitors. As it stands now, despite what people may think, there is not a lot of work anyway. This is due to a lot of people getting restorative justice and also a lot of the Wigan custody cases for domestic violence go to Manchester.”

Another feared cases could go to a Bolton solicitor working in Wigan.

“I don’t want Bolton duty solicitors coming onto the Wigan rota,” they said.