Guest Blog: Books in the Nick


By Books in the Nick, Give a Book.

Friday 6 October 2017.

Books in the Nick was started by Give a Book in collaboration with Special Constable Steve Whitmore of the Metropolitan Police.  Books in the Nick supplies custody suites with books for detainees to read and keep.

In 2016, the project supplied books to all of the Mets 43 active custody suites and continues to supply books to suites around the UK. 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 for example. 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.

Being given the opportunity to read and often keep a book has a positive effect on the detainees. Their relationship with dedicated detention officers (DDOs) and police officers has been shown to improve. Detainees are often distressed and are experiencing perhaps one of the hardest moments in their lives, so giving a book can be a way to instil calm and offer hope.

Some feedback from the custody suites involved:

 “Books in a custody suite are very helpful. Detainees are in the cells for sometimes days on end with very little to do. Books help to break that.”

“…helps them stay calm.”

“Books are always in short supply. I know detainees will be pleased.”

Give a Book continue to restock London custody suites with books as needed, and have started supplying suites in other parts of the country with books.

If you are interested in supporting this scheme please do get in touch, via