Books in the Nick

Books in the Nick (BiTN) supplies police station custody suites with books for detainees to read whilst they are being held and keep when they leave. BiTN was started by Give a Book in collaboration with Special Constable Steve Whitmore of the Metropolitan Police.  The project began when, after giving his own book to a young man brought into Brixton Custody Suite, SC Whitmore saw the positive and productive reaction this simple action received. Custody suites are the first place someone is taken for processing when they are arrested. They can be held there for as little as two hours, but sometimes it can be a whole weekend – if they come in on a Friday night. The books are specifically selected to be appropriate and reflective of the needs of the detainees in custody suites. A mixture of short stories, Quick reads, poetry, classic stories, non-fiction and pictorial books for young and emergent readers are provided.

In October 2017, Steve Whitmore was recognized with a Points of Light Award from the Prime Ministers office, for volunteering work including his work with Books in the Nick. Steve was also given the Social Impact Award by the Festival of Learning in June 2018. In June 2019, Books in the Nick volunteers were recognised with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

“I met this man, gave him a copy of Catcher in the Rye which I was reading because he seemed so distressed. Later when we was leaving he asked me if he could keep it and I said sure.”

They are genuinely appreciative of being given something to occupy themselves.

Quite Simple- They love the books. It most definitely helps with health and Mental Health wellbeing when persons are detained.(Inspector)


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