Could you help to independently check on the welfare of people held in police custody?
Independent custody visiting is a vital part of the work of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) in ensuring the police service is open and accountable to the people it serves.
This is the well established Independent Custody Visiting scheme where volunteers visit Police Centres to check on the welfare of Detainees in Custody, the conditions in which they are held and that their rights and entitlements are being observed. This offers protection to both Detainees and the Police and allows members of the public a real insight into conditions in Custody.
The Police and Crime Commissioner has the statutory responsibility for the delivery of the Independent Custody Visiting scheme.
The vast majority of the public will never see the inside of a police cell. However open days and the Citizens Academy allows more access with the aim of making the policing service more open and transparent. The ICV scheme aims to give confidence to the general public regarding the Custody facilities and welfare, rights and entitlements of detainees. The Custody facilities are designed to hold people securely and safely whilst an investigation takes place.
Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) visit detained people to ensure that they have been offered their legal rights and entitlements and also check on their welfare. ICVs have said:
"It's all about seeing people to show there are others that care about you."
"To be charged and put into a detention cell, locked-up with my freedom denied would be my worst nightmare. To know that someone is around to check that I am being properly cared for, that someone knows that I am here, that I have rights would be a great comfort to me. The ICV services does just that. I am proud to be part of that service."
To view Annual Reports click here.
What is the ICV panel?
Each of the 3 local areas – Bridgwater, Keynsham and Patchway – has an Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) Panel, led by a local ICV Coordinator who provides support to the ICV volunteers on their team. This is attended by a local Custody Inspector and supported by the PCC’s Volunteers Management staff member. There is a Panel meeting every 3 months where ICVs can talk about any custody visiting matters. Each meeting includes a training topic as well as updates from the Coordinator (who chairs the meeting), the Custody Inspector and from the PCC’s office. Any issues during an ICV visit will have automatically been sent to the Custody Inspector and PCC’s office when the visit report is added on the ICV database.
The 3 Panel Coordinators - and their Deputy Coordinators - also have quarterly Coordinators’ meetings at the PCC’s office, attended by Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s Head of Custody and PCC’s staff. The meeting agenda included local items from each of the ICV Panels as well as an update from the Constabulary and the PCC’s office.
What is the ICV Handbook?
Our ICV Handbook here contains information about the Independent Custody Visiting Scheme and the procedures that are involved in the custody visiting process.
What is the ICVA?
The Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) promotes the scheme nationally and is a good source of information for the public, for ICVs and for the PCC’s ICV scheme managers.
Want to apply to be an ICV?
The next step is for you to check that you are eligible to apply and that the role of an ICV suits you by reading the following documents:
If you decide that the volunteer role and the responsibilities of an ICV is still of interest to you, this is great news.
Please note, the role is for a 3 year commitment for the first term. Custody visits (about once a month) are in pairs and the rota covers a three month timeframe. Paired visits are within a four day time period - day or evening to suit.
Please complete the following forms and return them to Kathryn in the PCC's office.
For more information or if you have any questions about Independent Custody Visiting in Avon and Somerset you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.