Three WMP custody staff test positive for Covid-19

Three staff members at a custody suite in the West Midlands have tested positive for Covid-19.

Aug 7, 2020
By Website Editor

West Midlands Police initially confirmed two cases at the Oldbury custody block in Sandwell last weekend, while another staff member tested positive on Monday, the force said.

Those affected are self-isolating for 10 days.

The force added that with the assistance of Sandwell council and Public Health England it had traced a “a number of staff” who came into contact with infected colleagues, who were now also self-isolating for 14 days.

The block has now reopened following a “thorough clean” after a “brief closure” lasting five days.

In a statement police said no detainees “were assessed to have had significant contact” with the affected staff.

The outbreak, first reported on Sunday, caused the custody suite, which is one of the force’s two super-blocks, to be shut for five days, with detainees transported instead to temporary facilities at Bloxwich police station, in Walsall.

West Midlands Police did not respond to a request for the roles of those affected but it is understood at least one was a custody sergeant, whose job is to ensure detainees are properly looked after.

Detainees suspected of having Covid-19 are now again being processed at the Wolverhampton custody block, which was the role originally designated to the site at the start of lockdown.

Sandwell was named an “area of concern” last week and put on a national watch list of local authority areas under increased scrutiny because of a rising infection rate.

However, the rate in the borough has since dropped 30 per cent in the past week.

Superintendent Martin Hurcomb, from West Midlands Police, said: “Last Sunday we received confirmation of two positive cases and then a third person tested positive on Monday.

“We sought the advice of public health as quickly as possible and were able to put in all appropriate preventative action to minimise any onward infection.

“The custody block has now been reopened today.”

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