Paddington Green Police Station
Paddington Green Police Station is located in Paddington, central London, England. The station is operated by the Metropolitan Police Service, and is a conventional police station, open to members of the public 24 hours a day. It also serves as the most important high-security station in the United Kingdom. This is because prisoners suspected of terrorism are held at the station for questioning. The building is a typical 1960s office block, but underneath the station are sixteen cells located below ground level, which have a separate custody suite from the building's other cells. Building work was completed in 1971.
High-profile terrorist suspects arrested across the UK are often taken to Paddington Green Police Station for interrogation, and holding until escorted to a Court of Law. Suspects who have been held there include members of the IRA, the British nationals released from Guantanamo Bay, and the 21 July 2005 London bombers.
On 10 October 1992, a bomb was exploded in a phone box outside the police station, injuring one person.
In 2007, a joint parliamentary human rights committee stated that the old and decrepit mid-1960s police station was "plainly inadequate" to hold such high-risk prisoners. Lord Carlile, the official reviewer of the government's terrorism laws, said the Metropolitan Police needed a new custody suite suitable for up to 30 terrorism suspects. The old cells were 12-foot square, contained no windows and were reportedly too hot in the summer and too cold in winter. Refurbishments were made in 2009 at a cost of £490,000. Suspects now have access to an audio-visual system on which they can watch films and listen to music whilst incarcerated. This system was added because it was deemed inhumane to keep people locked up for to 28 days without any stimulation. One anti-terrorist officer was reported to be angry with these improvements saying, "If you beat up your wife or have a fight down the pub you will be slung in a cramped cell with nothing more than a toilet and a mattress. But if you are a terrorist intent on blowing things up then you get a luxurious cell with a telly and a CD player." The cells are lined with brown paper before suspects arrive so that any traces of explosives found on their bodies can be proven not to have been picked up from the cells.
- "4 March 1996". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (House of Commons)..
- New anti-terror jail to replace Paddington Green Police station Guardian, 21/9/2007
- Hughes, Mark (26 May 2009). "£490,000 to make Paddington Green habitable". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2009-05-30.