Volunteer thanked for helping police detainees for more than 20 years
A volunteer who has spent more than two decades checking on the welfare of police detainees in Norfolk has received a special thank you for his dedication to the role.
Rick Parry became an Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) in 1998 and in that time has carried out around 500 visits as part of a team covering the Aylsham area.
As a thank you for his commitment, Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Giles Orpen-Smellie, met with Rick to thank him for the past 25 years.
Speaking about his role Rick, from Fakenham, said: “Being an ICV gives you an interest, you see another side of life that you wouldn’t normally see but it does remind you that there but for the grace of God.
“I always feel that you can’t be a custody visitor unless you’ve got the ethos that it could be one of your family or friends that could be in that custody suite at any given time.
“I think the biggest change I have noticed over the years is the way we look after the mental welfare of detainees this is now top of the agenda really.
“They are not in the custody suite to be punished, far from it, but they are in the custody suite and if the detention officers can make it as bearable as possible then it’s in everybody’s interests.
“The facilities are also totally different some of the old cells could have been used in a Victorian crime drama, they had that sort of feel about them.
“We’ve gone from no cameras in the cells to suites being covered by CCTV and sound, it’s totally different.
“It is a safe place, hopefully in every sense of the word.”
Marking Rick’s milestone with a presentation at his office in Wymondham, Giles said: “It was an absolute pleasure to meet with Rick and thank him for his involvement in the scheme, an involvement spanning an incredible 25 years.
“The time and commitment to the role Rick has shown has to be truly commended.
“Albeit invisibly, our team of custody visitors play a crucial role in the safeguarding of detainees, and I am really proud of the successful scheme we have running here in Norfolk.”
The ICV volunteers visit the county’s custody facilities, unannounced and in pairs, to check on the treatment and welfare of people held there.
During 2022, Norfolk’s team of 23 ICVs carried out nearly 200 checks at one of the county’s four Police Investigation Centres (PICs) in King’s Lynn, Aylsham, Great Yarmouth and Wymondham. So far this year they have carried out around 140 further visits.
Rick is part of a team covering the Aylsham area but was originally based in North Walsham and over the year visited many of the former smaller police stations before the opening of the PICs, including Fakenham, Cromer, Sheringham and at times also covered King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth.
Asked why he had joined and stuck with the scheme for so long, Rick added: “I just enjoy doing it really, that’s the simple answer. I haven’t had a bad life, I feel healthy, and I wanted to pay something back into society rather than keep taking out.
“I have taken up various other volunteering roles, but this is the one which is the most interesting.
“You get to know a lot of nice people, there’s a sense of being part of a team… and all the Police and Crime Commissioners have been very supportive."
How to become an ICV
The Norfolk ICV scheme is currently looking for volunteers from the Aylsham area.
To apply, you must be over 18, live in Norfolk and have lived in the UK for more than three years. Although this is a voluntary role, travel expenses are paid.
Successful applicants will need to attend an initial training course to prepare them for the role and complete a six-month probationary period to be fully accredited.