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Volunteer praised for dedicating 20 years in police custody

(Left to right) Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) Tracey Matthews of the Great Yarmouth panel, ICV Rick Parry of the Aylsham panel, Norfolk PCC Lorne Green, and ICV Kay Watkeys also of the Aylsham panel. Picture: Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk

(Left to right) Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) Tracey Matthews of the Great Yarmouth panel, ICV Rick Parry of the Aylsham panel, Norfolk PCC Lorne Green, and ICV Kay Watkeys also of the Aylsham panel. Picture: Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk

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A man who wanted to "put something back into society" has been praised for his volunteering efforts during the last two decades.

Rick Parry, from Fakenham, is Norfolk’s longest serving Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) and has been part of the Aylsham custody visiting panel since 1998.

The ICVs are volunteers who visit the county’s custody facilities, unannounced and in pairs, to check on the treatment and welfare of people held there.

Speaking of his achievement, Mr Parry said: “It’s an important role, safeguarding those who end up in police custody, and it certainly gives you a different view on life. There is always something happening and it’s a real eye-opener to see firsthand the situations and challenges faced by police officers and staff in Norfolk’s custody facilities.

“None of us is immune to something going wrong in our lives – it could be due to social or health issues for example – and anyone could ultimately find themselves in police custody. What I and my fellow custody visitors do is check that, whoever it is behind that cell door, they are being treated as we would like one of our family members to be treated.”

Now Mr Parry’s dedication and commitment has been officially recognised by Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner, Lorne Green, who marked the milestone with a presentation at his office in Wymondham.

“This country couldn’t run without volunteers and Norfolk, in particular, has some excellent ones,” Mr Green said.

“The efforts of all the volunteers who take on this role are very much appreciated.”

Mr Green launched a recruitment campaign earlier this month for more custody visitors. Volunteers are needed to visit police custody facilities in Aylsham, Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and Wymondham.

Mr Green added: “We have had an excellent response so far to what is truly a unique and interesting volunteering opportunity. The fact that Rick has been a custody visitor for 20 years is testament to that. I hope his story will inspire anyone looking for a new challenge in 2019 to get in touch.”

- Anyone interested in becoming an ICV is asked to visit www.norfolk-pcc.gov.uk or contact the ICV Scheme Administrator on 01953 424455 for more information.

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