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Independent Custody Visitors needed in Patchway and Bridgwater

Retain custody visiting
Are you interested in what goes on behind the scenes in police custody? If so, Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens wants local people and the surrounding area to become Independent Custody Visitor Volunteers.

Independent Custody Visiting is an important part of the Avon and Somerset Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and we are looking for people from Patchway, Bridgwater and the surrounding area to join the team.

As an Independent Custody Visiting Volunteer, you will be responsible for visiting police stations unannounced, checking on the welfare of those in police custody by talking to detained people and possibly viewing computerised records and CCTV and ensuring detainee rights and entitlements are being observed.

If the custody visitors find any issues, these are raised initially with the Officer in charge of the custody cells but Independent Custody Visitors can, if appropriate, speak to more senior officers. The Custody Visitor completes an electronic report of each visit and this is received by the PCC. The PCC will check any issues raised by the Custody Visitor and may seek further information and clarification and further action may be taken. The quarterly meetings are where Custody Visitors get feedback about the general issues that are raised. Mental Health, Faith and Foreign Language have been recent issues that were raised from observations made on recent visits.

PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “This is a great opportunity for someone who is looking for an exciting and rewarding local volunteering role in and around Patchway or Bridgwater. We want to ensure the policing service is open and accountable to the people it serves.

“By gaining independent insight into police custody and reporting your findings, we can ensure policing is transparent and that local people have confidence in their police service. Do something different and become a Custody Visiting Volunteer.”

Volunteers Management and Policy Officer, Kathryn Palmer, added: “Training will be provided to new Independent Custody Visitors and introductions to the Panel Coordinator, Custody Inspector and other ICV members. Part of the initial training includes shadowing a more experienced Custody Visitor and a tour of the Custody Unit by a Custody Officer. There are additional discussions, updates and refresher training sessions at the quarterly Panel meetings.”

If you are 18 and above, live or work in Avon and Somerset Constabulary area, have not had any direct involvement in the criminal justice system and could carry out the role of a custody visitor independently with an objective point of view, then we want to hear from you.

Independent Custody Visitors are expected to attend one visit a month and four meetings a year. Travel Expenses are paid and training is provided.

To find out more information about custody visiting in Avon and Somerset, please click here.

To apply for this volunteering role, click here.

Posted on Thursday 18th July 2019
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