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Police open dedicated custody facility at Belfast station to deal with arrests where Covid-19 suspected

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Procedures: ACC Alan Todd

Procedures: ACC Alan Todd

Procedures: ACC Alan Todd

The PSNI has introduced a dedicated custody facility in Belfast for dealing with arrests where Covid-19 is suspected.

The facility in Musgrave Street Station has become the Covid-19 Unit where anyone currently arrested in any part of Northern Ireland who is suspected of the illness or displaying symptoms will be taken. This includes areas as far away as Fermanagh and Derry/Londonderry.

It will be co-staffed by both police officers and medical personnel, with measures taken to ensure the safety of all parties involved. In addition, the number of operational custody suites has been reduced to four, from the existing seven.

If charged after interview, individuals can appear by live-link before the relevant court covering the area where offending allegedly occurred.

The live-link facility also applies to the other three custody units, and is designed to reduce all unnecessary movement to, from and inside courthouses.

These, too, have been scaled back to four; Laganside serving greater Belfast and parts of Counties Antrim and Down; Dungannon taking in Fermanagh and Omagh; Derry/Londonderry, taking in all courts in the county, and Craigavon serving County Armagh and parts of counties Antrim and Down.

Confirming the custody procedures, Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: "We have reduced the number of custody suites from seven to four and have taken a number of measures to reduce footfall in stations and the need for physical presence in these remaining custody suites.

"We have a dedicated isolated custody facility at Musgrave Station to manage arrested persons suspected of having Covid-19, which is co-staffed with our healthcare colleagues.

"Measures are in place to ensure safety of all involved."

Belfast Telegraph