Police spend thousands on mobile cells for female arrests


By Andrea McCallum

A SCOTS police force is spending £765,000 on mobile cells after a surge in the number of drunken female arrests.

Strathclyde Police said they are running out of room because of a rise in the number of drunk and violent women being nicked.

The force has lifted twice as many women as four years ago and as a result is buying 10 portable cells.

Superintendent Stephen McGrath said: “We have experienced a significant increase in the gender of arrests, with up to 26 per cent of prisoners at peak times now being female.

“This is twice the proportion of four years ago. The need to provide separate new facilities further pressurizes already stretched facilities.

“It is not unusual for prisoners to be moved from one police office to another to find a cell for them.

“This results in overcrowding and increased risk to the officers and cost to the public.”

The cash-fuelled move is hoped to return more bobbies to the beat because hours have been previously wasted trying to find available cells.

Each block of cells includes a room for disabled prisoners and separate areas for males and females as well as showers, toilets and basins.

The first block will be installed at Saltcoats police station in Ayrshire.

A police survey showed that in Lanarkshire they were 49 cells short at peak times and in Ayrshire they were 32 cells short.

Grampian police are already using mobile cells at their police office in Fraserburgh.

Grampian police said: “The introduction of this new facility has greatly enhanced the way we control and supervise persons in custody.”

Superintendent McGrath added: “We are arresting more women than we did 20 or 30 years ago for a wide variety of reasons, whether it is for drink-driving or domestic violence.

“In older police stations we might have had four or five cells for females and more than 40 for men but that has all changed.”