Holding cells stretched to the limit

BENDIGO Police Station is housing prisoners in cells beyond a 14-day limit because of an increase in arrests and a lack of space at Corrections Victoria facilities. 

Victoria Police Association Secretary Greg Davies said Bendigo Police Station was among many stations forced to regularly hold prisoners past the 14-day limit. 

"Police are only meant to hold prisoners for 14 days because police holding cells are not designed for prisoners to stay for longer than that," he said. 

"Prisoners are meant to go onto Corrections Victoria facilities after those 14 days."

Mr Davies said an increasing population in Victoria had resulted in more arrests. 

"Police are just doing their job, which is to lock up crooks," he said. 

Mr Davies said last week there were about 357 prisoners detained in Victorian police cells, which more than doubled the capped number of 150.

"About 332 of those prisoners should be in jail and not in holding cells," he said. 

"That number is capped at 150 because police believe any more than that and safety is compromised." 

Bendigo Police Acting Superintendent Brad Dixon could not confirm how long prisoners were staying in holding cells at Bendigo Police Station. 

"I cannot discuss how many prisoners we have right now or how long they are staying as this could affect security," he said. 

"But we are regularly moving prisoners between Bendigo Police Station and Corrections Victoria facilities so that we don't breach the 14-day limit."

Acting Superintendent Dixon said Bendigo Police Station was allowed to hold up to 18 prisoners in holding cells at any one time. 

Corrections Victoria spokesman Michael Newhouse said police and Corrections Victoria worked closely to manage the demands on police cells and ensure prisoners were transferred between police cells, courts and prison as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

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