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Home Office reply to Beech questions

PUBLISHED: 18:02 26 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:26 03 March 2010

THE EVENING Star asked the Home Office ten questions about Steven Beech's bed and breakfast stay at Ipswich police station. Today, we print their response.

THE EVENING Star asked the Home Office ten questions about Steven Beech's bed and breakfast stay at Ipswich police station. Today, we print their response. We asked:

1. Why has Steven Beech been allowed to come to Ipswich, still recovering from the trauma of the rape nightmare of Kevin Chambers?

2. Is he living at the police station at his own request?

3. What is the nature of his accommodation? Does he have his own cell key? Is he locked up at night? Does he get meals as others in custody do?

4. Who is paying for his accommodation at Ipswich police station?

5. What is the cost of having two police officers with him at all times?

6. Who is footing the bill for 24-hour surveillance?

7. How long is he allowed to stay at Ipswich police station? Can he live there indefinitely?

8. Are efforts being made to find him alternative accommodation?

9. Is this the first such case in the country of a sex offender being housed at a police station though not under arrest?

10. Did Beech, to your knowledge, have any contact with other sex offenders in Suffolk?

In a blanket response to all the questions, a spokesman from the Home Office said: "We are not able to comment on individual cases."

But he added that in such situations, a "multi-agency public protection panel" (made up of various agencies such as the police and probation service) would "take care of its own funding of any strategy that would be put in place".

The police would fund any part of the response that involved them, he confirmed. And the Home Office would NOT give forces, such as Suffolk Constabulary, any additional cash on top of its existing budget to deal with Beech.

The Star can reveal that the cost of keeping Beech, who is supervised constantly by two plain-clothed officers, runs into thousands of pounds – making his current lodgings one of the most expensive bed-and-breakfasts in Suffolk.

It is believed that six officers a day, doing eight-hour shifts, work in pairs to monitor Beech's movement – making a total of 42 police shifts a week at a cost of around £2,300. Without the additional costs of food, electricity, cleaning and so on, this means the daily cost of his stay in manpower alone is around £328.

Beech is not the first sex offender to lodge at a police station in Britain. Child killer Robert Oliver, convicted of the manslaughter of 14-year-old rent boy Jason Swift, lived in a police cell for four months for his own protection after his release from jail in September 1997.

Though the Home Office has refused to answer our specific questions on Beech's stay in Ipswich, the rapist has himself filled in the gaps on the reasons for picking Suffolk.

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