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Too high cop desk cost YOU £7,000

PUBLISHED: 10:03 26 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:30 23 August 2010

ALMOST £7,000 of taxpayers money will pay for the lowering of a custody desk at a new police station – seven months after it opened. Kent Police Authority revealed work costing £6,914 was necessary at the new £35 million Northfleet facility due to conce

ALMOST £7,000 of taxpayers money will pay for the lowering of a custody desk at a new police station - seven months after it opened.

Kent Police Authority revealed work costing £6,914 was necessary at the new £35 million Northfleet facility due to "concerns" expressed by some custody officers.

The top part of the desk, nearly 6ft in height, was removed this month and replaced with a glass material.

North Kent Police's new headquarters off Thames Way was officially unveiled in July 2008 and is leased after being financed through a private finance initiative (PFI).

As the custody desk was built to existing guidelines taxpayers and not the PFI will pay for the change - equal to roughly three months of an officer's salary.

Suspects were detained at Medway police station for one week while work was carried out.

A spokeswoman for Kent Police Authority said: "The top section is being removed and replaced with glass maintaining the original height.

"This was in response to concerns raised by some, but not all, local custody staff.

"The desk was designed by the architects and was subject to mock-up trials as well."

Kent Police's budget for the year ending 2010 has been set at £276 million, up £10 million on last year. Built by Kier South East the state-of-the-art facility at Northfleet includes 40 cells, conference rooms, restaurants, separate public and custody entrances and a new crime scene investigation garage which allows vehicles to be forensically examined on site.

It has environmentally friendly innovations including one of the largest geothermal systems in the UK, heating the building using energy from the ground.

Other features include separate public front counter and custody areas as well as a vulnerable witness interview suite. School children from St George's School in Gravesend created a collage and scrolls on what policing and their community means to them and buried them in a time capsule to mark the unveiling by Chief Constable Michael Fuller last year.

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