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Greater Manchester is latest to u-turn on station closures

Another force has u-turned on station closures because of increased demand. Greater Manchester is re-opening a custody suite to reduce prisoner moves.

Greater Manchester is re-opening a mothballed custody centre in a bid to increase capacity and reduce pressure on crews.

The force confirmed Bolton Custody suite has been fast-tracked for re-opening to increase cell capacity.

A programme of works is underway to return the Scholey Street centre to full-time use by early next year.

Chief Constable Stephen Watson said: "This is an integral facility and its reopening forms part of a simplified approach to policing that people across Greater Manchester can expect to see more of.

"Quite simply, the changes we're making at pace across the force mean we will be catching more criminals and we need more space to lock them up.”

It's just the latest force to revisit decisions to close sites.

The announcement follows Wiltshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner ordering a review by its Chief Constable that is likely to result in another station being opened.

And Hampshire confirmed last month that a station closed in 2016 with plans to be sold off will also re-open next year after a major refurbishment.

Both forces had faced significant campaigns from community groups and have also now had to review their estate plans to accommodate the extra officers being brought in by the Uplift recruitment drive.

Greater Manchester said the extra capacity would mean shorter transport times for staff and for those detained so offenders will be processed without having to leave the area.

Chief Superintendent Stuart Ellison said: "Of the roughly 3,000 arrests Bolton officers made in the past year, 500 - or just over 16 per cent - were processed in Bolton.

"The remainder required double-crewed transporting to other sites. Re-opening of Scholey Street will greatly benefit our borough by significantly reducing the need for those trips and returning those officers back onto our streets. We are currently working through the logistics to ensure a smooth return to using this facility 24/7."

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