HC Deb 13 July 1989 vol 156 cc1116-7
2. Mr. Evennett

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received concerning the physical condition of police stations within the Metropolitan police district.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Douglas Hogg)

The receiver for the Metropolitan police district wrote to the Home Department on this subject on 26 June 1987. The Metropolitan police estate was also the subject of a report published by the National Audit Office on 22 June 1989.

Mr. Evennett

I thank my hon. Friend for his response. Is he aware of the poor physical conditions of several Metropolitan police stations, particularly Bexleyheath station, and that such poor facilities could result in a lack of efficiency and morale in the police force?

Mr. Hogg

My hon. Friend is right to focus on Bexleyheath. I accept that it is coming to the end of its useful life. I hope that we shall be able to provide capital allocations for the purchase of a new site in due course. My hon. Friend put the question persuasively.

Mr. Cox

Is the Minister aware of the importance of this question? Despite repeated promises by him and other Ministers in his Department, remand prisoners are still kept in police cells and women prisoners in particular are kept in the most deplorable conditions, lacking washing and exercise facilities. That should be of great concern to the Minister.

Mr. Hogg

It has indeed been a problem. I am glad to say, however, that we have substantially reduced the number of prisoners in police cells in the south-east. The precise figure is not in my head, but it is between 20 and 40.