Volunteering award recognition for Northamptonshire woman who has been custody visitor for more than 35 years
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A Northamptonshire woman, who has been a custody visitor for more than 35 years, has been recognised in a volunteering in policing award.
Geraldine Newbrook, an Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) for the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, was named Runner-Up for Longevity in the Home Office’s Lord Ferrers Awards. She was presented with her certificate by Chris Philp MP, Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire, in a ceremony in London on October 12.
Geraldine has been volunteering in this sector for more than 35 years, back when it was known as the Lay Visiting Scheme and had only just been implemented in order to build trust and confidence that detained people were being treated according to their rights and with dignity.
After seeing an article in the paper, Geraldine held a conversation with a Commander at the police station at Campbell Square and went on to lead a team of volunteers.
Since then, she has volunteered thousands of hours, visited hundreds of detainees and dealt with any concerns, supported the planning of new custody centres and more.
Geraldine said: “It’s not a nice experience for someone to be in custody, but I try to help make it as smooth as possible for them.
“Although we’re still very much independent, I feel like we’ve gained the respect of the people who work in custody over the years, and I respect the difficult job they do. They also know that if we find an issue we will raise it with them so it can be dealt with.
“It’s fantastic to see the scheme still working all these years later, and of course I find it very rewarding – I’ve never thought of stopping.”
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Stephen Mold, added: “To volunteer for more than 35 years is a tremendous achievement by Geraldine and we are so grateful for the countless hours she has put aside, and she has no doubt improved the experience for hundreds of people over those years.
"Her award is well deserved and we thank her for her incredible contribution.”
The ICV scheme sees volunteers check on the welfare of detainees who are held in police custody, to ensure they are receiving their rights and that the conditions are satisfactory.