Of 138 operational police holding cells in the North, the nine in the second city’s main police station on the Strand Road are among the only ones that are not equipped with toilets, the PSNI have confirmed.
Only in Banbridge (seven cells, none with toilets), Dungannon (five cells, three without toilets) and Lurgan (six cells, none with toilets) are inmates similarly inconvenienced, according to information released under the Freedom of Information legislation.
That’s 18 per cent of all police holding cells in the North. Elsewhere, in-cell toilets are available, including at Musgrave (50 cells, all with toilets); Antrim (20 cells, all with toilets); Coleraine (10 cells, all with toilets); Omagh (10 cells, all with toilets); Enniskillen, currently temporarily closed, (eight cells, all with toilets); Bangor, a moth-balled suite, (seven cells, all with toilets); and Strabane, also moth-balled, (six cells all with toilets).
The PSNI also confirmed that the closure of the custody suite in Limavady in 2014/15 following “a review of organisational cell capacity and best use of resources to deliver safer custody” was due to the need to modernise. “Limavady was a small suite of four cells requiring modernisation.
“Capacity was available in Coleraine custody, Antrim custody and Strand Road to facilitate the suite closure and reallocation of police resources required to run the suite,” the PSNI said, confirming the Dungannon suite will suffer the same fate this year.