Begin 2019 behind bars- as a volunteer
- Credit: Archant
Police are asking the local community to volunteer two hours of their time a month, to oversee the welfare and treatment of people in custody.
Norfolk's police and crime commissioner Lorne Green is recruiting independent custody visitors (ICVs) to visit police investigation centres (PICs) to check on the treatment and welfare of people held in custody
In 2018 ICV's carried out 200 visits across the county, checking on more than 700 detainees.
Mr Green said: 'The volunteers are the heroes of our county. They don't need to be here but they are.
'The public have misconceptions that people in custody are outcasts but they are not. Some have mental health issues, substance abuse, they are victims of themselves and the volunteers understand that.'
Michele Rayson, from Snettisham, has been an IC volunteer for more than 12 years, and co-ordinator of the volunteers for two.
Mrs Rayson said: 'It is very enjoyable. I got involved because I saw an advert for it in the paper and thought it was interesting. I wanted to give back to people who haven't had the upbringing I have and I really enjoy helping people.'
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Mrs Rayson explained that it can be difficult to disengage with the detainees when she leaves, especially when it comes to people suffering with mental health issues.
'I just think they shouldn't be here.' She said 'They need help.'
ICV scheme administrator, Simon Atherton said: 'Across Norfolk we have 22 volunteers, we need at least six for each centre and King's Lynn currently only has three.
'If you have an interest in the criminal justice system, understand that people in custody can be vulnerable, are sensitive and over 18 years of age, then become a volunteer. You would only do one or two visits per month and it only takes around two hours.
'The work the volunteers do is mostly unseen and they have to be happy with holding the police accountable if they aren't treating the detained correctly, full training is given.'
Individuals interested in joining any of the four ICV panel in King's Lynn, Great Yarmouth, Wymondham and Aylsham should visit www.norfolk-pcc.gov.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org