A POLICE and crime commissioner has moved to allay fears that a proposed new force HQ, police station and custody centre opposite a primary school could put children at risk.

Julia Mulligan said residents’ safety would be of paramount importance and prisoner release plans would be implemented if it was found South Kilvington, near Thirsk, which has a population of 220, was the most suitable site for North Yorkshire Police’s new base.

The commissioner’s comments follow months of mounting concerns, particularly among some parents of pupils at South Kilvington Primary School, over the release of prisoners yards from the playground.

A South Kilvington and District Action Group spokesman said: “Detainees are not entitled to any transport home and they are likely to be released around the time the children are going to school about 8am to 9am.

“We recently saw a list of the offences detainees were charged with locally, everything from arson, criminal damage, burglary, drug and sexual offences, theft and violence.”

The group said it believed the proposed custody suite would be used for prisoners from a large area of North Yorkshire and that some detainees could wander about the village looking for non-existent public transport.

Mrs Mulligan said the suitability of building the headquarters in the village was still being assessed and that a number of other custody suites, including one at Scarborough, would be retained.

She said risk assessments were performed when people were taken into custody and that data showing how custody suites in other residential areas in the county had few, if any, public safety incidents would be provided to residents.

Mrs Mulligan said: “We understand concerns around releasing people from custody.

“If our assessments show that the site is suitable and we decide to take the proposals forward, we will undertake a formal and full public consultation with the local community."