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Clause 111 - Staff custody officers: designation

Part of Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:15 pm on 18th January 2005.

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Photo of Hazel Blears Hazel Blears Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Security and Community Safety), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 5:15 pm, 18th January 2005

Yes, indeed. The hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield mentioned the remarks that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary made in winding up the Second Reading debate about the Northumbria police work force modernisation pilot. That is an extensive pilot, involving £4.5 million over the next four years. The hon. Gentleman is right; that is a matter of extending the roles of other custody officers within the custody setting. It does not get to the heart of the custody sergeant's role, because until we change the law that must still be carried out by a police officer.

The Northumbria pilot has covered everything but the bit that can no longer be done. That has released 91 full-time equivalent police officers to the front line, getting them out of the custody setting. That has been welcomed by not just the officers, but the people of Northumbria, who have more officers on patrol.