MET get mobile

August 2009

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has launched an innovative pilot Mobile Processing Unit (MPU), developed by the MPS Transport Operational Command Unit, in conjunction with Transport for London.

Principally it is designed to provide equivalent processing facilities to those in custody suites, for compliant and low risk prisoners, with individual seating areas rather than cells.

The vehicle has been custom built to design out problems such as accessibility and ligature points that existing vehicles used by forces across England often have. It is also equipped with full custody technology including CCTV, a taped interview room, NSPIS and Livescan.

On arrest, the decision as to whether to take a detainee to the MPU or a normal custody suite is based on a suitability check and a fingerprint scanning device, which ensures that no one unsuitable is taken to the vehicle.

It is anticipated that the unit will be used in operations and at major London events, such as Wimbledon and other festivals, to reduce the volume of people taken into custody suites, as well as provide a tailored service to detainees, which is both timely and proportionate to the crime committed.

The MPS is currently faced with increased financial pressure, especially around custody suites. As a result, investigations can be hampered by a lack of short term holding and processing facilities, which means some detainees can spend a disproportionate amount of time in custody, compared with the often minor offences they have been arrested for. In turn, this can lead to an inability to deliver effective patrolling, as staff can be held up in custody waiting to process those they’ve arrested.

Please contact us if you would like to share details about developments in custody visiting in your area.