Skype to be used in Hatfield and Stevenage police cells

Hatfield Police Station

Hatfield Police Station - Credit: Archant

Police are installing new technology to ensure suspects held in Hatfield and Stevenage cells are dealt with as quickly as possible.

The cells at these police stations will have been fitted with video screens to enable senior police officers to speak to detainees by Skype instead of face-to-face.

Herts Police hopes it could speed up procedures and prevent delays when important information has to be passed on, such as when reviewing the amount of time spent in custody.

Ultimately the technology could also be used to provide interpreter services, confidential legal consultation and appropriate adult services remotely.

The innovation is outlined in the draft Annual Report of the Independent Custody Visitors Scheme, which was presented by Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd to the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Panel.

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In the Report Chief Inspector Mike Todd says: “Building work has taken place this year where custody cells in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire have been fitted with video screens to facilitate remote inspector reviews via Skype.

“This innovative and creative project is the first of its kind in the country following successful securing of funding from the Police Transformation Fund.

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“Following go-live, further work will continue to add other features, including remote interpreter’s services, legal consultation and Appropriate Adult Services – in addition to facilitating positive media messaging.”

Hertfordshire Police say the addition of the screens will create a more efficient way of working for police and will help to prevent delays when dealing with those in custody.

The technology is still at the testing stage, but the force hopes to introduce their use in the very near future.

Head of Criminal Justice and Custody, Detective Chief Superintendent Mike Marren said: “This creates a more efficient way of working for police and will help to prevent delays when dealing with those in custody.

“Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire police forces are the first to introduce this technology. It is still at the testing stage and has not yet gone live but we hope to introduce its use in the very near future.

“All contact with detained people will continue to be carefully governed by compliance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, a set of strict rules concerning the treatment of those in police detention.”

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