To coincide with the Police Federation conference, the Liberal Democrats today released research showing that prison overcrowding has resulted in 20,000 prisoners being held in police cells in the last year at a cost of £2.6 million per month.
Liberal Democrat Leader Ming Campbell said:
“The job of our police forces is to catch criminals, not to look after them by becoming full-time gaolers.
“Police officers are already overburdened by bureaucracy and targets. This is one more thing that prevents them doing what they are paid for.
“Using police cells is a ‘quick fix’ solution which will not make the prison crisis go away.
“The UK has the worst reoffending rates in Europe, with prison acting too often as a revolving door for criminals.
“We need to make prison work by making education and work compulsory and ensuring that non-violent criminals work in their local community to make amends for their crimes.”