Christchurch's new Justice Precinct opens for public

Police cells aren't usually a place people queue to get into, but that's just what happened in Christchurch on Sunday.

Fourteen-thousand people turned up to see inside the new Justice Precinct.

The line queuing up for a look inside Christchurch's new police cells snaked out of the building, along the street and back again.

The 33-suite custodial unit is part of the new $300 million Justice Precinct, which will eventually house 2000 of the city's justice, Corrections, police, fire, ambulance and Civil Defence staff.

Ministry of Justice CEO Andrew Bridgman says he wanted to open the doors to the public before those staff start moving in next month.

"Most people don't come in to courts. Most people thankfully don't come into police cells, so today's important for them to see how these environments look," he says.

Thousands jumped at the chance, with the queue stretching down Lichfield St all morning and into the afternoon.

Inside, there were more queues. Many agreed the wait was worth it.

"It's quite unreal really, definitely a different experience," one said. "The kids love it which is great."

They'll just be hoping this is the only visit they'll have to make to the police cells.