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News Report Page 5 of 9
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Celebrating 2 'trail blazing' volunteers

AS we mark Black History Month, Merseyside's Police Commissioner is celebrating the work of 2 'trail blazing' Independent Custody Visitors, while encouraging others to join the scheme. Ebenezer 'Ben' Quartey and Herbert 'Herbie' Higgins were 2 of the founding members of Merseyside's Independent Custody Visiting (ICV) scheme when it launched in 1985. The voluntary scheme was established following the recommendation of Lord Scarman after the Brixton riots that lay visitors should attend Police custody suites. As a result of the release of the Scarman Report in 1981, Ben and Herbie worked alongside Chairman Rev. Peter Beaman to help establish the scheme in Merseyside and were among the 1st members of the community to go into Police custody suites to check on the conditions and make sure those being held are being cared for appropriately. The scheme is now the responsibility of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) and Merseyside's PCC Jane Kennedy has today paid tribute to both men, as she encourages more people to volunteer to join this important scheme.

Jane said:- "As we celebrate Black History Month and as National Inclusion Week draws to a close, I want to celebrate the work of two trail blazing ICVs and encourage other people to join this important scheme to increase the diversity within our amazing group of volunteers. Both Herbie and Ben helped establish the ICV scheme in Merseyside, laying the foundations of an initiative which has now run for 35 years, ensuring the welfare and wellbeing of many thousands of detainees. Herbie was born in Jamaica and was part of the Windrush generation who came here to settle. He met a great deal of opposition and discrimination in his early days, but Herbie remained in Liverpool and made his own distinctive contribution to many aspects of community life, for which he was awarded an MBE. His enthusiasm and commitment to custody visiting was always commendable. His funeral was attended by 2,000 people and led by the High Commissioner for Jamaica in Liverpool Cathedral and since his death a housing development in Toxteth has been named in his honour. Ben, who came to Liverpool from Ghana, has been a committed and caring member of the ICV scheme for an astonishing 35 years now. His earlier visits included checks at the Victorian Police station, the Main Bridewell in Cheapside in Liverpool, which closed its doors in 1999. As well as making a significant contribution to the ICV scheme, he has also played an important role in the Ghanaian Association and the wider Merseyside community. His knowledge, wisdom and practical help has been greatly valued by the scheme throughout his long service. Both Herbie and Ben are pioneers, who have been pivotal in helping give our communities confidence that someone is checking on the welfare of detainees in Police custody. The power of arrest and detention is a significant one and detainees are potentially vulnerable. It is vital that the public know that all is well with the way we detain men and women in our justice system, a system of which we are rightly proud. I am keen to increase the diversity within our ICV scheme, so we can further cement that community confidence. I hope Herbie and Ben's stories will inspire people from all walks of life and from all of Merseyside's varied communities to volunteer to carry out this important public duty."

ICV volunteers visit the Region's custody suites in pairs, at varied times of the night and day, throughout the year. Once on site, they check on the welfare of those detained and the conditions within the suite and produce a report for the Police Commissioner. They can also raise issues directly with Merseyside Police. If you would like to apply to become an ICV, please find more information at:- MerseysidePCC.Info. The deadline for applications is 5pm, on 14 October 2020.

Liverpool's children's champ Julie Cashin receives MBE for contribution to Children's Services

WHEN Liverpool City Council worker Julie Cashin (Bennett) got a phone call telling her she was going to receive an award in the Queen's Birthday Honours, she immediately thought it was a prank call. Children's Rights and Participation Manager Julie was out shopping at the time and presumed one of her 3 grown up sons was having a laugh. Her response was straight to the point:- "I'm in no mood, it's pouring down with rain and your dad's having a meltdown!"

It was only when she returned home and picked up her emails that Julie realised the 'posh speaking guy' on the other end of the phone wasn't her son, but an official telling her she had been awarded the MBE for her contributions to Children's Services.

Julie Cashin said:- "I am always being pranked by my sons, so when the call came through I just thought it was them. I am overwhelmed by it all really, it's a wonderful honour and it's also a real testament to the fantastic young people I have worked with over the years. For me, it is so important that we not only listen to the children of our City, but we act on what they say and thankfully the City Council and all the other partners that work with children in care believe in this ethos as well. There is nothing better for me than seeing a child who has come into the system, frightened, lacking in confidence and not trusting adults, go out the other side and go on to lead a happy and fulfilling life, that's the real honour."

Julie's career with children began in 2001 when she ran a playscheme in Everton, before joining the Council's fostering team in 2005. In her role as Children Rights and Participation Manager, she has helped hundreds of children and young people in the care system find their voice and go on to lead independent lives. Julie has been instrumental in setting up Liverpool's Children in Care Council and has also created the Children's Scrutiny Panel to make sure that children's voices are heard at the highest level. She is now waiting for a date to come through for a visit to Buckingham Palace to pick up her award and she will be taking her proud father 81 year old Bobby Cashin, along for the day.

Liverpool City Council's Cabinet Member for Children's Services, Cllr Lynnie Hinnigan, said:- "This honour is richly deserved and we are delighted that Julie has been recognised for all her amazing work. It is clear that Julie Cashin doesn't just do this job, she lives it and she truly is a champion for children in our City. Not only has she supported many young people through the care system, but she has also taken some of them and mentored them to become the next generation of children's rights workers and follow in her footsteps. It makes us sure that the future of support for children in our City is in safe hands."

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