Live Procurement Careers Contact
NCS3 cropped
Nottinghamshire PCC logo

Nottinghamshire Police Custody Suite

Project value: £15.4m

Sector: Blue light

Completed: 2021

Local spend: 74%

Number of apprentices: 60

Waste diverted from landfill: 98%

Total Social Return on Investment: £6.1m

I am delighted that we now have one of the finest facilities anywhere in the country and would like to thank everyone involved in this project for their hard work, ideas and leadership in delivering this project.

Steve Cooper

Assistant Chief Constable

Offsite modern methods of construction allowed Willmott Dixon to deliver a safer, more efficient new custody suite for Nottinghamshire Police that provides a benchmark for future projects, whilst delivering significant social value.

When the existing Bridewell custody suite was deemed no longer fit for purpose, Willmott Dixon were appointed by Nottinghamshire Police to deliver a brand new custody suite for the county.

The new building is safer and more efficient and was delivered on time and on budget, despite the challenges of Covid-19.

Using offsite modern methods of construction gave the building a high-quality finish whilst minimising the amount of labour on site. As this method is customisable, Nottinghamshire Police had greater involvement with the design, creating a facility that is fit for purpose both now and for years to come.


Built in the 1990s, the existing Bridewell Custody Suite was no longer considered fit for purpose and needed costly repairs to bring it up to modern standards. The design and layout of the building across several floors made it operationally challenging for staff and meant that internal areas of the building received very little natural light.

The new building needed to operate in a much safer, more efficient manner. Natural light would be integral to the design of the new building, in both office areas and in the cells, where it was required to ensure compliance with The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for The Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules).

Secure accommodation projects require an understanding of the sensitivities surrounding them and the confidentiality required when delivering them. Willmott Dixon has significant experience in delivering projects of this type and were able to successfully meet this challenge.

In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic had the potential to cause significant disruption with the on-site works beginning just 10 days before the start of the first national lockdown. Control measures were swiftly put into place to protect the health of the workforce, including increased welfare facilities to aid the required social distancing.

Alongside the health concerns of the workforce, the pandemic and its associated lockdowns caused a strain on the material supply chain of the project. To counter this, materials and works packages were procured earlier than usual to ensure the project had a continuity of both labour and materials.

The new custody suite has 50 cells within four wings, each of which is made of precast concrete that was manufactured offsite. This modern method of construction ensured a high-quality finish whilst minimising the amount of labour on-site, which in turn created a safer working environment and pushed the project forward during the pandemic.

Due to the customisable nature of off-site manufacturing, Nottinghamshire Police had greater involvement with the design, allowing them to create a facility that is fit for purpose now and that will remain so for years to come.

The building has been designed with the smart use of space and technology in mind, meaning it can be efficiently managed, reducing the burden on staff and keeping running costs low. By locating all cells along one floor, in a radial layout, travel distances for staff are minimised when escorting detainees. In addition, the splitting of cells into wings allows sections of the building to be shut down when not in use.

The new suite receives a large amount of natural light, helping to improve the mental health of those working within the facility and in turn, aid more productive working. As well as the provision of natural light to all cells via sun-pipes, the vulnerable person cells feature photographic tiles depicting a river running through a forest, which can help calm any detainees that may have hidden disabilities.

The project also generated significant social value, with the creation of 60 apprenticeships and by working with local social enterprise Radiant Cleaners, an organisation focussed on employing people who face barriers to work, including survivors of modern slavery. Wilmott Dixon is part of an ethical working group, made up of Team SCAPE partners, with the goal of eradicating modern slavery in the construction industry.

The new custody suite provides an efficient, modern environment that will serve the county for decades to come.

I am delighted that the new custody suite has been designed with the safety of police officers and staff in mind. The design of the building also means defendants can be processed quicker, saving both time and money for the force”.

Caroline Henry

Police and Crime Commissioner


Waste diverted from landfill


Total Social Return on Investment


Local labour

In collaboration with:

Willmott Dixon main logo RGB 300dpi
SCAPE Construction Primary Logo
Nottinghamshire PCC logo

Share case study

Twitter LinkedIn

Project gallery

Related case studies