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Celebrating achievements of Nottinghamshire’s custody welfare volunteers

Posted onPosted on 9th Aug

Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry has praised the contribution of custody welfare volunteers across the county who are working tirelessly alongside police to improve standards and quality.

Commissioner Henry paid a special visit to the county’s Bridewell custody facilities to find out more about the work of Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) and the different ways they are supporting and protecting the wellbeing of detainees.

ICVs have recently been involved with the revamp of the libraries in both Mansfield and Bridewell custody suites, sourcing a haul of donations including easy reads, picture books, informational books and comics for vulnerable detainees.

Nationally, it is recognised that detainee dignity, health and wellbeing are vitally important in the delivery of a safe and effective detention system.

Commissioner Henry said: “Our ICVs are passionate about delivering the highest possible standards of police detention and work in partnership with officers and the ICV scheme manager to ensure time in custody is as positive as possible, with appropriate resources for reflection and distraction.

“The revamp of our custody libraries is one of the many ways our ICVs make a difference to their communities and uphold the dignity and respect of those in custody.

“I’m incredibly proud of all the team, particularly given the challenges of the pandemic and the changes this has brought to their visits. Throughout Covid, our ICVs have continued to carry out appropriate visits and telephone checks to custody workers and detainees to ensure health and safety requirements are being met and we value immensely their feedback and observations.

“Keeping Nottinghamshire safe involves a whole number of roles and responsibilities, many of which are undertaken by volunteers from our community. I am incredibly grateful for their support and commitment.”

One of the ICVs involved in the library revamp was Diane Bialek, who appealed to colleagues and her personal network to secure book donations.

She said: “I was really excited to be invited to contribute to this project, improving the existing library by sourcing suitable books for vulnerable detainees, particularly those with learning difficulties, children and detainees who read in different languages.

“Just a small gesture of a book can help manage time in custody positively and hopefully leave the reader with some kind of benefit.”

ICVs make a valuable contribution to policing by making unannounced visits to Nottinghamshire’s custody facilities to ensure the rights’, entitlements and wellbeing of detainees is being protected. The visits they undertake also help to highlight current or potential problems to they can be resolved swiftly.

The scheme’s longest-serving ICV is Christine Shellard who was fully behind changes to the visiting structure during lockdown to maintain safety and was also involved in improvements to the library collection.

Christine added: “I feel privileged to have served as an Independent Custody Visitor with the Nottinghamshire Scheme since 2005.

“Throughout this time I have been superbly organised and supported by two excellent scheme managers and by the training and guidance provided by the Independent Custody Visitors Association. I am convinced that all members of our team have made a very positive difference to the detainees we visited always aiming to support the custody staff in their demanding work.”

Commissioner Henry has launched a search for new recruits to join the team. For more information visit: