WEST Midlands Police cemented plans for a new purpose-built 60-cell custody suite with work starting in Oldbury this week.
Builders are laying the foundations for the development in Bromford Lane and police and crime commissioner Bob Jones was on hand to launch the construction work.
It is one of two so-called super-blocks planned to replace the seven-cell custody suite at Halesowen Police Station and nine other smaller suites which were mothballed by the cash-strapped force in 2010 after they were deemed uneconomic.
The suite, which is close to Sandwell and Dudley railway station, is being built on 3.4 acres and will also have facilities for interviewing suspects, consulting with solicitors, gathering evidential samples and for medical treatment.
It will house detainees mainly from across the western side of the West Midlands Police area and is due to be open in June 2015.
Mr Jones said: "Improving police custody facilities is a key priority in my police and crime plan.
"This is an important investment for policing in the West Midlands and will bring our custody facilities up to date.”
The second custody suite will be built in Perry Bar later this summer and assistant chief constable Gary Cann said the new suites would mean better facilities for staff and officers and safer detention for those in custody.
"It will be more efficient, reducing our revenue costs in the long term, which means that more resources will be available to keep officers on the street, protecting the people of the West Midlands,” he added.