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Thicker mattresses, a range of sanitary products & drinking water. The upgrades to police cells in Sussex

Small changes are being made to make conditions better for detainees.



Life as a detainee is about to get better now that recommendations by an Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) manager in Sussex are being implemented.

Sarah Friend spent 17 hours in custody from arrest right through to next day release and in that time was able to experience what it was like.

During that time she was also able to ask and get a toothbrush and noticed that some of the ‘neighbours’ in other cells were provided with extra food if they wanted it.

She also noted that the mattresses were rather worn and thin and that if you wanted some water you had to ask for it.

As a result of her findings Sussex Police have implemented changes to ensure that detainees have a more ‘comfortable’ experience.

Commenting on her stay, Sarah said:

“I was keen to look into having drinking water in the cells, as this would not only help the detainee but save on staff time going to and from the kitchen.

“I also investigated if there’s a national standard for mattresses in cells. The length of the bench was fine – I’m 6 foot tall and could lie straight. I was happy with the temperature and cleanliness of the cells; when I asked for a toothbrush I got one, and my neighbours got the extra food they asked for. However, the mattresses were old, worn and very thin.

“More than ever I stand by the change I’d like to see to female hygiene in custody; it’s not a pleasant experience using the toilet in a cell anyway, but to make a female who is menstruating have to buzz every time she needs certain products just isn’t right in my opinion. Sussex now offers a good variety of products but I still feel there’s work to be done in this area.”

Sarah’s job is a unique one at the best of times. She manages a team of volunteers who check on the welfare of detainees held in custody. They make unscheduled visits at any time of the day or night to custody suites across Sussex speaking to their detainees and ensuring their rights are being upheld. 

Across the UK in 2017/18 Independent Custody Visitors made well over 9,000 visits to police custody to check on detainees, visiting over 28,000 people. From a portion of those visits in Sussex the changes made already have been ground breaking, especially the lobbying of the government with PCC Katy Bourne (who funds the scheme) to supply a range of menstrual products for female detainees. 

Sarah is looking for ICV volunteers in Eastbourne to join her team.

To read Sarah’s blog click here: To apply to become an ICV click here:


Crawley wanted man caught after replying to police on facebook

Louis Brown tried to hide from the police by hiding under a mattress.



Louis Brown was caught by police after responding LOL on their facebook post

Police had posted on their facebook page his photo along with the reasons he was sought.

They said:

“He is wanted on recall to prison for breaching his bail conditions and believed to be in the Crawley area.”

But Brown thought is funny to respond to the post by putting “LOL” under it.

Crawley police though did have the last laugh after he was found hiding under a mattress at an address.

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