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Issue No. 410 February 2017

Custody suite on the move

Contractor Jeff Wilson explains the proposed ACU layout to custody staff - from left Sergeant Steve Chung, Senior Sergeant Scott Rees and Authorised Officers Caitlin Chalmers and Andrew Lomax.
Photo: Constable Alex Stammers

Offenders arrested in Auckland will find themselves in new surroundings from later this year.

Auckland City’s District Custody Unit (DCU) is relocating from Auckland Central Police Station to the remand visiting centre at Mount Eden Corrections Facility, which will be known as Auckland Custody Unit (ACU).

The centre, built in 2000, is being remodelled with a modular construction similar to facilities at Manukau, Rotorua, Tauranga and the new Christchurch Justice Precinct.

It will house up to 43 prisoners – like the 1950s-vintage DCU - but in far more modern surroundings. It will include overnight holding cells, at-risk cells, a specialised padded cell, search cell, day room, video interview suites and medical and mental health assessment rooms.

It will incorporate CCTV monitoring, electronic control systems, prisoner call buttons for emergencies and staff-controlled switchable glazing to allow prisoner movement without compromising segregation.

Police will use Corrections facilities such as audio-visual link suites - so detainees can appear before court electronically - and non-contact interview rooms. However, no police detainees will be held within the prison itself.

Project lead Inspector Peter Gibson says the environment will reduce prisoner movements and enhance staff security and safety and the efficiency and flexibility of custodial management.

“This fit-for-purpose facility will greatly reduce current risks in the Auckland Central facility and risk and cost associated with the movement and transportation of detainees between police stations, courts and prisons,” says Peter.

“Working closer with our partner agencies - Corrections and Justice – in custodial management makes so much sense.”

All Police DCU staff will relocate to the ACU, which is expected to be operational by August.

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