The custody centre at Corby Police Station was built more than 60 years ago, and it shows.
Corridors are narrow and restrict a clear view of the cells which are too hot in summer and can be so cold in winter officers have to transfer prisoners to Northampton.
There’s only one shower room serving 14 cells, none of which have a wash basin.
The room used by the two detention officers and a sergeant, as well as visitors dealing with legal issues and the health problems of those in custody, is cramped and the kitchen which has to provide meals for people detained, some for up to 72 hours, is tiny.
Untiled, the cells are difficult to keep clean and are often vandalised.
Insp Steve Gray, the custody inspector at Corby, summed up the problems: “From the point of view of officers the building is inefficient and, at times, can be dangerous.
“For people being detained, when it comes to health and their personal safety, we could provide them with a better quality service.”
Plans have been revealed for a £6m custody and investigation centre, with 20 cells, at North Kettering Business Park. If the proposals are approved it could open in 2015.
Insp Gray said: “To upgrade what we have at Corby would cost more than the new centre. We would have to rip it all down and start again.
“The cells do not meet Home Office standards.
“The corridors are narrow meaning violent incidents are difficult to contain and the alarm system needs replacing.
“This can pose a danger to officers. Three cells have no toilets and we have no facilities for the disabled, or the elderly.
“We have many prisoners with health problems and the doctor’s office is cramped.”
The custody centre’s three interview rooms are damp and the processing area offers no privacy to people brought into custody.
The £9m cell block at Northampton’s new criminal justice centre opened in September and Insp Gray was closely involved in the project.
He said: “It’s working really well and everyone is pleased. It has facilities for the disabled, the cells are tiled and they all have CCTV cameras.
“This building at Corby is no longer fit for purpose and the cells at Kettering are worse.”