From an open field with a digger to the country’s most modern and up to date custody facility. Around a decade after it was first proposed, Gloucestershire Constabulary’s new custody facility was officially opened today, January 14th 2015.

Look inside here.

The visionary project had been threatened by rising costs and indecision but following a review by the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl, the budget was capped at £12,429,821 and the plans approved on 3 June, 2013.

Local primary school children helped the commissioner and the Chief Constable ‘cut the first sod’ on 31 July 2013 and from that moment the building began to take shape until it was completed on time and on budget.

The ‘official’ opening ceremony took place today Wednesday (January 14th) and was performed by former Cabinet Minister Jonathan Aitken, an author, broadcaster, columnist, lecturer and campaigner for prison reform. He also served a jail sentence after pleading guilty to committing perjury during a libel trial.

The facility has been named Compass House as it is hoped it will play a role in giving detainees a new direction. It was because his life and experiences mirror this that Mr. Aitken was asked to perform the opening.

Compass House can house up to 50 detainees and replaces outdated cells in Gloucester and Cheltenham. The ‘walkthrough’ has been adopted by the Home Office as ‘best practice’.

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