Concern cops 'being used as prison janitors'
MORE than 200 prison inmates were locked in Islington police station cells last year – raising fears that many cops are ""too busy acting as janitors to fight crime"".
MORE than 200 prison inmates were locked in Islington police station cells last year - raising fears that many cops are "too busy acting as janitors to fight crime".
A crisis hit the UK prison system in 2007 when a rise in prisoner numbers meant a lack of prison spaces.
Police stations were paid to house extra inmates and figures obtained by the Gazette show Holloway police station was used for three months.
Some 223 people who would normally be kept in prison were locked in the Hornsey Road base at a cost of £1,350 a night. Islington police were paid £300,000 by the prison service.
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Serious concerns have been raised that police time was used to look after the inmates instead of fighting crime.
Martin Koder, of the Islington Conservative Party, said: "I don't think it's a good use of police time. There should be more prison places so this doesn't happen - and it is holding the police back."
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He added: "I am sure the police are not using this as a revenue stream and it is right they should receive compensation for the use of their cells. But there should be more prison cells then police could do their job rather than acting as prison janitors."
The police were forced to confirm the level of cell use after the Gazette made a request under the Freedom of Information act.
A spokeswoman said: "The police work with the Home Office and have identified cells that can be used to hold prisoners as a short-term measure.
"We have selected sites so that our assistance does not impact on operational policing. Operational policing takes priority at all times.