PLANS have been revealed for a new custody suite to be built in Oldbury housing scores of prisoners from across the Black Country.
West Midlands Police wants to build the 60-cell block on 3.4 acres of vacant land in Bromford Lane, close to Sandwell and Dudley Railway Station.
It would be 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.
Assistant chief constable Garry Forsyth said many of the suites were too small to provide efficient use of resources and needed considerable investment to bring them to modern standards of safer detention.
He added: "One of the advantages in reducing the number of custody blocks is that the force has been able to achieve savings of £2.8 million a year in running and staffing costs.
"The force continues to look for opportunities to run custody more safely and efficiently."
Funding has been secured and agreed by the Police and Crime Commissioner for the two new custody suites, the second one being close to junction 9 of the M6.
A planning application has not yet gone to Sandwell Council, but the force has submitted a request for a ‘screening opinion’ on whether or not the development should be subject to an environmental impact assessment.