February 28, 2009
The “mobile urban jails” will be used in targeted areas such as those rife with knife crime and anti-social behaviour or where there is no police station nearby.
They will allow officers to process criminals, fingerprint them and issue, on-the-spot fines, bail or court summons without having to go back to a police station.
A satellite link will even allow a custody sergeants to charge offenders via video while offenders could be held for up to six hours.
Similar but permanent facilities will also be set up in shopping centres – dubbed “retail jails” – to allow police to deal with high volume, low level offending, such a shoplifting and drunks, without having to go to and from police stations.
In 2007, the Home Office raised similar proposals with short term holding facilities to be set up in shopping centres or major sporting venues, nicknamed at the time “Tesco jails”.
The Tory proposals are part of a series of measures to reduce police bureaucracy and give officers more time on the streets.