‘THE MORE YOU PAY THE LONGER I STAY’ OR 24 HOURS LOCKED UP IN POLICE CUSTODY ALL IN THE CAUSE OF CHARITY
IN AID OF THE POLICE COMMUNITY FUND & THE MAYORS CHARITY GRANT FUND
First of all I would like to thank all of the people who have helped to make this unusual event a reality. The police for giving me the time and place, as we all know a live custody suite is an unknown quantity with restricted cell space and a home football match being played makes for a pull on officer time and effort, also the press both BBC Radio Shropshire Adam Green and the lovely Vicki Archer giving me time on air last Friday (Still on IPlayer if you wish to listen) The Shropshire Star for sending Pete the photographer and for the great article in tonights p[aper (28-02-2012) and last but by no means least all of those who have sponsored me, without your help this would have been a waste of time and effort for everyone.
Please go to the STC website for more information about sponsoring this event to help me raise as much money as I can for the Mayoral Grant Fund. Thank you Tony Durnell http://www.shrewsburytowncouncil.gov.uk/2shropnet/AToZOfMini-sites/S/ShrewsburyTownCouncil/MayoralInformation/MayorsCharityFund
I had not realised that I would be locked up whan Shrewsbury had a match on, and seeing that we got three points I want to place on record that I will not go into custody for every match day until the end of the season. Me being in custody is not some form of lucky charm to ensure we win. Sorry Graham and Mr Wycherley I love the club and have supported the Town since the mid fifties, I also know we will go up this season without having me banged up for each match, as being locked in those cells once is enough for me. But I really did miss the action and that made my time in the cell seem longer than it was.
My Lock Up Log
I was booked into Custody at 11.04 Risk assessment carried out, searched and had my rights and entitlements read to me. I declined the solicitor, but would always recommend anyone who is arrested to request a solicitor even if you are innocent as they know how it works in custody and you don’t therefore it would make it easier for all parties to involve a solicitor from the off.
I did not wish to read the book on my rights (PACE) Police and Criminal Evidence Act as I am fully up to speed with every page of this large book. I also did not need anyone to be informed that I was in custody as in this case my wife the Mayoress and the Mayors Officer were there watching all this take place, that is also not the normal procedure, but one my wife will tell about later.
Every Editors Dream. The Mayor being locked up and their photographer there to record it. This is the picture that ended up in the Shropshire Star.
I was then taken to my cell where more pictures by the press were taken another thing that is not normally allowed.
To show no hard feelings and my last pose for a picture with Inspector Colin Aitken, who help make this happen and my thanks to him for the time and effort he put in even though he has a very busy schedule.
Then the door was shut BANG!!!
Above when the door is closed that is all you see, evrything you need food drinks etc comes via the hatch. The cell is about 6 feet x 10 feet.
Then it was a case of sit and wait, wait and more waiting. It is now that you miss the little things you take for granted, like fresh air, putting the kettle on, radio or TV and above all no one to talk with.
The view I have from my bed, at least there is daylight coming through the window, although you can’t see anything as it is frosted.
Its not like I didn’t know what a custody suite is like as I do spend a lot of time with my volunteering hat on within custody suites in both Shropshire and Telford areas, as an Independant Custody Visitor (ICVs) Please click on the following like to read more about Custody Visiting and what they do and the role they play etc. http://www.westmerciapoliceauthority.gov.uk/getting-involved/independent-custody-visitors/
Another hat that I wear is being an Independant Appropriate Adult for both Juviniles and Vunerable Adults who need someone to ensure that their rights are being adhered to whilst in custody and during interview. Many people think that if a young person needs an AA then their parents are not very good, but the truth can be that the parent is a whitness, victim or that they are unable to get to the interview due to many other genuine reasons, or the young person is in care and the care home is unable to attend within a reasonable time. It is very rare that the reason is because a parent has given up on their child.
Note the on suite loo in the lower right of the picture, also the hand wash between the door and the loo and on the left of the door above the dado rail is the intercom/alarm system.
With the above pictures you will see why I volunteer to be an aApropriate Adult also why I set up an out of hours back up for Shropshire Councils Emergency Duty Team (EDT). Many people who are locked up in the cells are not charged with any offence, so why should they have to stay locked up any longer than needs be. It is not the right environment for people with mental illness or those who are young, therefore if I can be of help to shorten their stay I will.
ICV and AA visits are snapshot visits to the custody suite and not for more than say six hours. Today is so much unlike those times as this time I am locked up and know it will be 24 hours before I am freed. Knowing that I might not get a full nights sleep I decide to get my head down after lunch. Lunch being brought from the canteen and was sausage, chips and peas with a form of flapjack for afters, the same as everyone else in custody, with a coffee and a cup of water. I always tell people who are in custody when I am doing my ICV’s to ensure that they drink plenty as with the dry air within the cells they dehydrate quickly and then they would get a headache and feel sick, so I did as I tell many and kept my fluid intake high. I was able to sleep for four hours. A shock when I awoke as it was dark outside and inside so I knew it was after 6pm.
At around 6.30 the cell opened and the Detention Officer entered and said a familiar few words, “I have with me two members of the public who have come to see if you are being looked after etc and would you like to talk with them.” So knowing it to be ICVs I said yep, the look on their faces when they saw me sitting there was a picture. They had heard that I was being taken into custody for charity sometime soon but did not know when, both of them are not from the Shrewsbury area so they really would not have known. I had trained the one when she started and it was strange as I normally play the PIC Person in Custody when we train and I pull all sorts of stunts that I have seen over the years being an ICV, but this time it was more real than any training session.
Please note that photos as seen on this blog are not allowed and in no way will any ICV take any pictures, messages or anything whilst they visit. They are there to ensure that the person in custody is being looked after in line with PACE.
It was great to actually have someone to talk to after being on my own for over seven hours. Another first for me and learning all the time. Anyone who is in custody and is asked if they would like to talk with a member of the public should if they hear or read of this will realise that ICVs are highly trained professional people who are as it happens volunteers, Who are tied to the Official Secrets Act and Data Protection Act etc the same as any serving police officer is. Even if you knew a person locked up you could not tell anyone any details or even that they are in custody, so it is worth talking to ICVs as it does pass the time a little and we can get conditions improved for both the person in custody and equipment to ensure that the custody staff can carry out their job. The ICVs are answerable to the Police Authority not the Police Force, so it is independant.
After the ICVs left and carried on with their visit around the custody suite I was offered a choice of food, I decided on Sausage again as I am not a true fan of the food within custody, so better safe than sorry. It was then I soon realised I had a long night ahead, my neighbours on each side as well as one across the way from my cell decided on becoming some acts for Britains got No Talent.
The abuse that the staff get was way out and it was constant throughout their shifts. These Officers are doing their job for crying out loud, they do not need or deserve abuse like I had to listen to them take all night long. I can understand people do not want to be inside the cells but hay its their choice, if they do not wish to be in there then do not break the law, simple. If you break the law then respect that the people who are looking after you when you are locked up are human beings and treat them how you would like to be treated. I know I am having a rant but what I had to listen to was not nice. As the saying goes “if you cant do the time dont do the crime”. I finally got some down time at around 05.00 and then only for an hour or so.
Even though you are unable to see anything through the window in the cell, you still find yourself looking through. I also realised that you lose all sense of time inside the cell. My wife and myself went on a cruise many years ago and we had seen no news and had listened to no radio, we did in one port of call find ourselves alongside HMS Edinburgh, and they tranfered some officers onto our ship for our return to Plymouth. When entering the area around Plymouth we saw our fleet under steam heading out into the high seas. We found out on docking that the Gulf war had started. Being in that cell was like being in a time warp where the outside world does not exist. Strange feeling, just like the time on that cruise.
Above the blank walls. Thank goodness for a dado rail in blue to break it up.
I was offered breakfast and found it was sausage on the menu so that was soon eaten along with a nice cup of strong pre-pack coffee and a cup of water. I had by my feeling about 4 hours left to do, now 4 hours aint long in a Mayoral day, but in a cell when you need not want but need some fresh air and people to talk to iis a long long time to wait, even longer when you can hear others being released. I wonder as I sit and wait did any of those when released apologise for their actions and words they did the night before, I imagine not. Sad but I supose a fact of life.
Sometime after 10.00 I was asked if I wished to be released as I should have been booked in at 10.00 yesterday but due to problems in Custody I had to wait until 11.04 to be booked in. I said no way, I will stay until 11.04 if that is fine with you as I do not want to be seen as taking the easy option. It was to prove the longest 45 or whatever minutes I have ever known to pass, talk about watching paint dry.
Finally at 1104 the cell door opened and I was taken to the custody desk and asked about my stay, any complaints etc and then given my release papers showing that I had been in custody for the 24 hours and with my own custody record number.
They did inform me that I was the first Mayor to serve any time in the custody suite that they knew of within West Mercia, I now wonder if that could extend to the whole country. What a record that would be and what a line to open an after dinner talk with.
Then out through the door through the bail pod and fresh air WOW!
I made my way home and on arrival my wife told me how concerned she was for me and how my stint in the cells had helped her realise what partners, parents and loved ones of those who end up in custody must feel like knowing where they are but at the same time unable to visit or even talk to them. So I feel that we both learnt a lot from this charity lock up, and it was not a stunt, but an honest try at raising money for the community as well as awareness of the work that those within the custody suite do. I know that there will be more to follow on the life and times of staff who work within the custody suite. They work in conditions many of us would not entertain, its not all bad as there are fun times and that is how it should be but they do a job that not many people know about.
My wife then asked if I would like sausage for dinner. I bet you know what my reply to that was. Yes a load of chops.
I am glad to be out and about and would like to thank the staff within custody for looking after me and taking the time for me to carry out this charity lock up.
I will now make a plea to you all to please dig deep and sponsor me as we do need as much money as we can so that all of the young people can have an alternative to standing on street corners.
If you would like to make a donation please feel free to contact the Mayors secretary details below and she or one of the office staff will help and guide you.
Contact Carol Pullen Mayors Secretary telephone 01743 257655
Thank you all for your support, I will still be walking around with spare sponsor forms for a little while longer, so be warned.
Please click on the following link to take you to the Crimestoppers Youth Web-Site called ‘FEARLESS’. Thank you: http://www.fearless.org/
Please click on the folowing link to take you to the CRIMESTOPPERS Web-Site. Thank you: http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/