A new police custody training facility at the University of Derby, developed by Morrison Design Ltd, has opened to students. 

The redevelopment has created a unique training facility for students on the University’s accelerated two-year, three-year and apprenticeship Policing degrees to experience the processes involved when booking offenders into custody, in a realistic and Covid-secure environment.

Working in conjunction with Seddon Construction and the University of Derby, Morrison Design architects designed internal layout alterations across three floors at the University’s One Friar Gate Square site, home to the School of Law and Social Sciences. The development has provided reconfigured office, meeting and lecturing space and the replica custody.

Tony Blockley, Head of Policing at the University of Derby, said: “Practical and theoretical learning is essential for trainee police officers. Through our strong links with Nottinghamshire Police, Derbyshire Constabulary and British Transport Police, our students have access to a wide range of real world opportunities, but I am thrilled that we can also offer them realistic practical experience right here at the University with the new custody suite.

“In line with government guidance, we have measures in place to ensure we are operating a Covid-safe environment and we are currently delivering a blended learning model which combines online lectures and on-campus teaching time. The year’s cohort of students has started using the facility and are really enjoying it, and we look forward to welcoming students starting their courses with us in January 2021.”

The suite, which sits alongside the University’s existing mock court room, student legal advice centre and Crime Scene House, has been designed to reflect the workplace with a three-person booking desk and cell, three interview rooms and a CCTV and recording room, all with necessary recording equipment and acoustically treated to prevent sound transmission.

A new 57-seat classroom with integrated audio and visual installation has also been added to provide students with an area to watch the practical learning in the custody suite via video link, and learn about the theoretical elements of the judicial system.

Dan Illsley, Senior Project Manager in Estate Development at the University of Derby, added: “We are very grateful that Derbyshire Police has been instrumental in the design of the new custody suite at Derby. We were fortunate enough to be given a tour of a local police station at the beginning of the design process and were provided with real props, such as posters, to ensure the suite had an authentic feel for students to experience.”

Commenting on the project, Morrison Design Director, Dave Gardner said “We are delighted that our design expertise will help the University of Derby educate the next generation of police officers. During the design phase we were very keen to listen to client’s requirements to ensure we designed a custody suite that was realistic and fit for purpose.”

Find out how students are using the suite in this video. For more information about studying Policing and Investigations at the University of Derby, visit the website.