She is invisible to most, her work largely unseen, despite hours of unstinting effort. What she does benefits a section of society we often choose to forget. Her ‘customers’ – those people Norfolk Constabulary detain for questioning in police cells in King’s Lynn – are the very people most of society would not want to give a second thought to.
One of the PCC’s unsung heroes, Custody Visitor Trudie Needham, was last night “honoured, humbled and speechless” to receive a Mayor’s Civic Award for Voluntary Service at a ceremony in King’s Lynn.
Described by PCC Stephen Bett as “a most deserving winner”, Trudie was nominated by Custody Visiting Scheme Administrator Sarah Bryant for ‘her amazing record’ of voluntary service, giving up at least two hours a week of her own time over 9 years to help the PCC monitor the treatment of detainees in police custody.
"By visiting detainees and reporting on what I see, I am offering reassurance to the public that the police are doing what they should be and treating people in custody fairly and with respect." Trudie Needham, custody visitor and award winner
Speaking after her win, Trudie said: “I am speechless… and that’s something that doesn’t happen often! I am honoured and humbled to be recognised by the Mayor of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk – though I don’t do it for recognition. I do it because I enjoy it and I feel I make a difference.
“As a custody visitor, what I do helps safeguard detainees, and the police too. Generally, people are very quick to pick up on things when they go wrong, but we don’t always hear about the things being done well. By visiting detainees and reporting on what I see, I am offering reassurance to the public that the police are doing what they should be and treating people in custody fairly and with respect.
“This award isn’t just for me – it recognises the efforts of all the Custody Visitors who work with me on the King’s Lynn panel and elsewhere in the county. It’s also a testament to the support and dedication of the Scheme Administrator Sarah Bryant.”
Welcoming Trudie’s win, Stephen said: “I am delighted she has been recognised in these awards. Trudie is a most deserving winner, working tirelessly and selflessly to do the best job she can.
“I value Norfolk’s Custody Visitors highly. The role they perform is a crucial one, ultimately meaning that the Constabulary provides a better service for all those who are in their care for periods of time.
“Trudie Needham is not only an excellent Custody Visitor, but she also provides true leadership and mentoring for others on her Panel and across the Scheme. She is a mine of knowledge and information about the subject – to say that she is merely a volunteer would not do her sufficient justice.”