Charity workers spend night locked in police cell

 19/12/2018

Five charity workers have spent the night behind bars - not because they were in trouble but for a good cause.

Shirley Smith, co-founder of If U Care Share Foundation, Ben Campbell of Transform Drug Policy, Shelley Johnson of Walking With The Wounded, Sandra Hartley of Mencap, and Cheryl Adamson, a member of the Independent Custody Visiting Scheme were locked in the cells at Consett Police Station in order to raise awareness of mental health.

It is the third year in a row that the station has opened up for worthwhile causes. Volunteers hoped spending the night behind bars will help get people talking about mental health issues suffered by those detained in a cell.

Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg, supported the event and each person was locked in the cell at 9pm on Tuesday 18 December, and ‘released’ at 7am today.

Shirley, of the If U Care Share Foundation, said: “Some might not relish the thought of spending the night in a cell but some people with mental health issues simply don’t have the choice.

"I experienced some of what detainees go through and appreciated 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.

"I hope that as well as fundraising for If U Care Share Foundation with every penny raised helping to save lives and support those bereaved by suicide, we can also get talking about how we accommodate those with mental health issues when they are detained."