HC Deb 14 October 1991 vol 196 cc29-30W
Mr. Shersby

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many remand prisoners are currently being kept in police station cells; what action he is taking to provide prison accommodation for such prisoners; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Rumbold

On 11 October, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 1,661 prisoners being held in police cells in England and Wales. It is not possible to identify separately remand and other classes of prisoner.

The reduction of the number of prisoners in police cells is a matter of priority for Prison Service management, which is seeking to resolve the industrial relations disputes which constitute a significant part of the problem. In addition, arrangements have been sharpened for ensuring that available capacity is used to the full. Some refurbishment work has been rescheduled to retain places in use. The role of Hewell Grange young offender institution near Redditch has been changed to that of an adult prison taking prisoners suitable for open conditions. Whitemoor prison has just started to receive prisoners, and nine other establishments are due to open by the end of 1992. Additional capacity will in due course also he provided in some existing establishments as part of the Prison Service building programme.