Times have certainly changed since traffic officer Peter Krushniak locked up the first offender at the newly-opened Pudsey police station at Dawsons Corner in March 1978.
Having arrested a man in Stanningley for stealing from the back of a delivery wagon, he had to wait patiently in the back yard for the station sergeant to finish his cooked breakfast before he could “book in” the first prisoner to be held there.
Long before the time of computers or even typewriters, the sergeant took down the prisoner’s details by hand on a large blue detention sheet before throwing him in one of the four cells.
Mr Krushniak was on hand yesterday to see the official opening of the station’s new state-of-the-art custody complex, following a £2.5m redevelopment to make it one of the main policing hubs for the North West Leeds Division.
The four cells of three decades ago are now 22, fitted with the latest technology to ensure detainees are held in the highest standards of safety and security.
Improved interview and medical rooms, meeting rooms for legal representatives and offices for the West Inner and Outer neighbourhood policing teams, CID, Suspect Management Unit officers and Criminal Justice Support staff are also part of the 17-month refurbishment.
Mr Krushniak said: “I don’t remember much about the prisoner other than he was a regular ‘guest’ of the local constabulary.
“I don’t think he was too excited about being the first person booked into the new station.
“I was amazed to see how much it had changed since the days when I was there as a serving officer.
“Back in the seventies when officers were based in old Victorian police stations in Wortley or Tofts Road, Pudsey, there was only one cell at Wortley and prisoners were taken to the old Leeds Bridewell under the Town Hall or to Horsforth or Otley police stations.”
Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police Sir Norman Bettison said: “The redevelopment of Pudsey police station to provide the very latest modern custody facilities is part of a wider programme of work across the Force to make sure we have custody provision of the highest standard in the right locations to serve our operational policing needs well into the future.”