28 Days [2009]

Photographs from Paddington Green High Security Police Station.
The High Security prison, held within Paddington Green Police Station was used originally to hold arrested members of the IRA in the early 70’s. The Carlile Report of 2007 made recommendations to the Metropolitan Police Authority to upgrade the complex in response to the extended powers of detention without trial, then, 28 days. People arrested under the Counter Terrorism act were being held in cells only designed to for 2/3 days detention at most.

For me, this series extended an ongoing investigation into material state environments. It took me six months of meetings to gain unprecedented access to this space in London for two long days in July 2009 as it was nearing the end of the refurbishment period. Having had my previous series, The Last Things [2007] published was a great help because as was noted, with gravity, by a superintendent, ‘a relationship already existed’. The high security areas of Paddington Green High Security Police Station had never been photographed before. The work I made attempted to record, interpret and negotiate the anomalies of a specific complex, which in response to Lord Carlile’s recommendations rubs up against the fabric of older police cultures.

It was a routine couple of days. I watched as our chaperone, a detective constable helpfully ‘dressed’ the cells with books and soft duvets whilst regaling us with tales of ‘old-school’ policing.

The station was closed in 2018.