New Nottinghamshire Police custody support scheme to help steer young people away from further crime

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A new scheme designed to provide a more inclusive service for young adults arriving at custody has been launched by Nottinghamshire Police.

Pastoral support volunteers have been introduced within the Nottingham Custody Suite for the first time to help break the cycle of criminality and stop reoffending.

These volunteers will provide emotional support and advice to black and dual heritage people, between the ages of 18 and 25, who arrive at custody after being arrested.

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This could be in the form of volunteers sharing their own life experiences or acting as positive role models, to encourage attendees to listen to police and access any potential support.

A new scheme to help young adults arriving at Nottingham Custody Suite has been launched by the police. Photo: Nottinghamshire PoliceA new scheme to help young adults arriving at Nottingham Custody Suite has been launched by the police. Photo: Nottinghamshire Police
A new scheme to help young adults arriving at Nottingham Custody Suite has been launched by the police. Photo: Nottinghamshire Police

The main goal of the scheme is to divert these young adults away from criminality at an early stage, while improving the relationship between the police and ethnic minorities.

Central to this is building trust in the police among the black community and ethnic minorities, who may feel apprehensive about cooperating with the criminal justice system.

By providing support from people who might be better placed to empathise with them and make a connection, the hope is that the time in custody could lead to something positive.

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Nottinghamshire Police has worked closely with community group, the Nottingham Majority Black Led Churches (NMBLC), to kickstart the initiative, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.

Chief Constable Kate Meynell was among those who attended the official launch of the pilot scheme at the Nottingham Custody Suite on Tuesday, May 7.

The new initiative is in line with the force’s support of the national Police Race Action Plan (PRAP), which it signed in 2022, and which focuses on the different ways policing can be improved for black communities.

That includes suspects arriving at custody, with Nottinghamshire Police hoping the introduction of pastoral support will create a more culturally competent scheme for all at the Nottingham Custody Suite.

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Chief Superintendent Sukesh Verma, Nottinghamshire Police’s strategic lead for the PRAP, said: “Custody has long been recognised as a teachable moment that offers time for a person to reflect on their lives and whether they want to change things.

“Most find custody a stressful and intimidating environment, but this is intensified for ethnic minorities, who we know can have a sense of distrust in the police.

“Bearing this in mind, it’s vital that we do something to ensure this opportunity to intervene at the custody stage isn’t missed so that we can divert people away from offending.

“The introduction of custody pastoral support for young adults who are black or of dual heritage could have a real impact in providing this important lesson.

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“We were really proud as a force to sign up to the PRAP in 2022.

“Our hope is that this scheme will help with this, so we’re really grateful to the NMBLC for working with us on this pioneering initiative.”

Dr Ezekiel Alawale, NMBLC chair, said: “We see this pioneering initiative as an important step in having a culturally competent and representative police service which benefits all our communities in the long term."

More information about the work Nottinghamshire Police is doing around the PRAP can be found online at

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