Building work on the new Barnsley Custody Suite is due to start on Friday 13 November and the Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings and Chief Constable David Crompton were there to start the first digging of the foundations.

The purpose-built facility at Churchfields, Barnsley, will provide custody facilities for Barnsley Local Policing Unit, with 20 new cells replacing the previous suite that was unfit for purpose.

Demolition work has been taking place since the old suite closed on Monday 14 September in preparation for the building work to commence. A temporary custody area for Barnsley prisoners is operating at Ecclesfield Police Station in Sheffield while the work takes place.

The new facility, which is due to be completed in Autumn 2016, is designed to be a sustainable building which uses more efficient heating and lighting, and includes solar panels.  This will not only reduce the carbon footprint, but also be more cost effective.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “This new facility at Barnsley is long overdue.  Offenders were being brought in to a custody suite that fell well below modern standards.

“This purpose built facility will provide much better working conditions for officers and a more environmental friendly building that will be more economical to run.

Chief Constable David Crompton said: “The changes taking place at Churchfield are part of a £19m project to update our custody areas not just in Barnsley, but also at the new building on Shepcote Lane that will serve the Sheffield and Rotherham areas.

“It has been widely publicised that South Yorkshire Police, like forces across the country, has to make significant savings but we also have a duty to provide detainees with fit-for-purpose accommodation. The building work starting today is a key part of this process.”