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Sleeping in a cell, for charity


Five charity workers spent the night in the cells at Consett Police Station in order to raise awareness of the importance in helping vulnerable people at this time of year.

Supported by Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg, each person was locked in the cell at 9pm on Tuesday 18 December, and ‘released’ at 7.00am the following day. 

The five charity workers who took part were Shirley Smith (pictured, with Ron Hogg) the Chief Executive of the If U Care Share Foundation, Ben Campbell of Transform Drug Policy, Shelley Johnson of Project Nova / Walking With The Wounded, Sandra Hartley of Mencap, and Cheryl Adamson, a member of the Independent Custody Visiting Scheme.

Shirley said: “Spending a night in jail and experiencing some of what detainees go through, I appreciate how completely inappropriate this would be for someone with a drug problem. I can imagine feeling isolated, frightened and claustrophobic - and I only spent 12 hours incarcerated, with a door I could open if I wanted to. I left the cell this morning but thousands of people won't be able to.”

Ron said: “Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for vulnerable people. Too many are lonely and they can find this a stressful period as feelings of isolation are made worse. I’m pleased that these issues are being highlighted”.

More information about the charities involved:

  • If U Care Share Foundation – CEO Shirley Smith -a regional charity committed to prevention, intervention and support for those bereaved by suicide.  https://www.ifucareshare.co.uk/


  • Transform Drug Policy Ben Campbell – A  charitable think tank that campaigns for the legal regulation of drugs both in the UK and internationally.  Transform works to get drugs under control by advocating for strict regulation of all aspects of the trade, including campaigning to end the criminalisation of drug users. http://www.tdpf.org.uk/about-transform


  • Project Nova- Walking With The Wounded–Shelley Johnson– Project Nova supports Veterans who have been arrested and enter Police Custody.  It also supports Veterans who are referred by specialist Police teams, or other statutory organisations, because they are at risk of arrest. Launched on 1st July 2014, it is delivered as a partnership between RFEA and Walking With The Wounded (WWTW). Project Nova currently operates in the East of England; the North East; the North West and South Yorkshire and Humberside. https://www.rfea.org.uk/our-programmes-partnerships/project-nova/


  • Mencap-Sandra Hartley- A charity which offers advice and support to people with learning difficulties, their families and carers. They run various projects and programmes for people with a learning disability, their families and professionals. https://www.mencap.org.uk/


  • Independent Custody Visiting Scheme- Cheryl Adamson- Trained volunteers attend police stations to check on the welfare and treatment of detainees and to ensure that their rights and entitlements are being correctly observed. It offers protection to both detainees and the police, and reassurance to the community at large.  https://www.durham-pcc.gov.uk/Get-Involved/Independent-Custody-Visitors.aspx



Posted on Wednesday 19th December 2018
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