Nottinghamshire Custody Suite Nottingham, UK
Nottinghamshire Custody Suite is a state-of-the-art facility that has brought together a strategic design, technological solutions and modern methods of construction to set a new benchmark for custodial design. Underpinning the project was a core focus on the welfare and safety of people.
The new-build custody suite consolidates and replaces outdated smaller suites in the Nottingham area. The 4,500m² suite comprises 50 cells, with associated ancillary and office space. The scheme provides innovative solutions, which put both staff and detainee welfare, dignity, and safety at the forefront of design.
The project was procured through Scape, designed by Corstorphine & Wright and built by Willmott Dixon. Its purpose was to replace the Bridewell suite in the city centre, which in the coming years would no longer comply with national guidance around health and safety.
The main requirement of the building was to meet the needs of all users – both employees and detainees – including complying with legislation that sets out the minimum requirements for a detainee’s environment.
We cannot underestimate how ground breaking this facility is in terms of acknowledging and addressing the needs of vulnerable detainees especially those with Autism and it is now cited as a national exemplar of how we can improve detainee welfare through design rather than “Standard Operating Procedures”. Multiple forces are now looking at following Nottinghamshire Polices lead and implementing similar design principles.
The design also includes high levels of flexibility so the building delivers maximum long-term value. A key element related to the distinct custody areas. One is for the general population, with separate male and female sections. The other is specifically for juvenile and vulnerable persons. Each has its own support and ancillary spaces. This means that juvenile and vulnerable persons can be completely separated at all times, including when being charged, having interviews, receiving medical support and meeting visitors. An area of the building can also be separated out for training purposes, providing multiple uses of space. Affray routes are designed to reduce the building footprint, which helps manage costs while ensuring compliance and operational efficiency.
The routes divide cells into additional sections, meaning they can be used for vulnerable persons in future if the force’s requirements change. And space between cell corridors has been designed into dedicated courtyard space for staff, helping promote wellbeing.
The suite incorporates a level of flexibility to increase or decrease the number of interview and consultation spaces to meet weekly peaks and troughs.
The suite also incorporates first-of-its-kind features specifically tailored to improving the welfare of detainees with autism.