Custody Coaches

Custody Coaches are trained youth workers who offer an engagement and support to those who have been arrested and detained in police custody.

Being processed through custody can be a lengthy process, presenting quite literally a captive audience to offer support to. If they choose to engage it can present a “reachable moment” – when someone is more reflective and willing to consider advice and support to help with aspects of their life that may contribute to offending behaviour.   

We commission Reading Football Club Community Trust and Milton Keynes Dons Sports & Education Trust to deliver the scheme, operating in three of the busiest custody suites serving a large proportion of the Thames Valley: Loddon Valley (Reading), Maidenhead and Milton Keynes.

Custody suite staff will identify those aged 18 – 30 who have been arrested for a violent offence/knife crime and will offer them a voluntary referral.

If the person accepts, a Custody Coach will try to attend custody immediately and use the time they are waiting in detention to start the engagement. 

A Custody Coach is independent of the police and is not there to focus on the specifics of why they’ve been arrested. They use their links to sport and the local community to break down barriers and to open discussions about what is happening in that person’s life that may be contributing to the offending.

Common issues are lack of employment, substance abuse, housing issues, family or relationship breakdown, and exploitation by others.

The Coach will try to identify immediate support services and will help to make applications/referrals. They often focus on employment, meeting up to work through their CV, help with applications and support them to attend interviews.

A randomised control trial evaluation is being run as part of the intervention in order to monitor the impact of the scheme.