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Independent Custody Visitors needed in Bridgwater


With the New Year fast approaching, why not take on a new challenge and considering volunteering? Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens wants local people in Bridgwater or Patchway to become Independent Custody Visitor (ICVs) Volunteers.

A great opoprtunity for those interested in what goes on behind the scenes in police custody, ICVs are an important part of the Avon and Somerset Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

As an ICV 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 to ensure detainee rights and entitlements are being observed.

If the ICV Volunteers find any issues, these are raised initially with the Officer in charge of the custody cells but the volunteers can, if appropriate, speak to more senior officers.

The ICV Volunteer completes an electronic report of each visit and this is received by the PCC. The PCC will check any issues raised by the ICV and may seek further information and clarification and further action may be taken. The quarterly meetings are where ICV Volunteers 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 Bridgwater or Patchway. 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 an ICV.”

Volunteers Management and Policy Officer, Kathryn Palmer, added: “Training will be provided to new ICVs 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 apply for this volunteering role, email: pcc@avonandsomerset.pnn.police.uk

Posted on Tuesday 26th November 2019
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