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Avon and Somerset's scheme

Avon & Somerset Police & Crime Commissioner's Independent Custody Visiting scheme comprises four teams – one for each of the main custody units in the force area. Each area, or panel of custody visitors is supported locally by the ICV Coordinator who also undertakes visits. The coordinator sets panel meeting dates, drafts visiting rotas, interviews new visitors and supports their inductions and acts as the main point of contact with Police & Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) Office.

Each panel is required to carry out regular visits to designated custody suites, visits to Bridgwater, Keynsham and Patchway take place once every 4-5 days. Visits are always carried out by two custody visitors who turn up unannounced and meet outside. They speak to detainees and fill out a form noting any queries or concerns they may have and raising them with the custody Inspector at the end of the visit. These are fed back to the PCC who records the information and resolves or responds to any issues raised.

Independent Custody Visitors are volunteers from the local community who represent the varied backgrounds and sections of the communities within force area.

Visitors must:

-          Be at least 18 years old

-          Live or work in the Avon and Somerset Area

-          Have been a resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to application

-          Not be a serving police officer, magistrate, member of police staff or involved in the Criminal Justice Process

-          Be willing to undergo security checks, including police vetting and references

-          Have sufficient mobility, sight and hearing to undertake visits safely within a custody setting

-          Be IT literate and able to access email

The time commitment for this role is no more than 2-3 hours per month. You will be expected to attend quarterly evening panel meetings, normally for 2 hours, held at the station you conduct your visits along with fellow visitors, the panel coordinator, the OPCC Custody Visiting Officer and the local custody Inspector. This ensures everyone is up-to-date with any news and that any problems, issues or concerns are raised and addressed.

About the Panels

The custody visiting panels are located in Bridgwater, Patchway and Keynsham.

Each panel visits their main custody suite (designated) at a frequency agreed between the Constabulary and PCC.

The Police & Crime Commissioner's role

Avon & Somerset Police & Crime Commissioner oversees the running of the scheme through a range of methods.

Anna Hill, from the OPCC team is on hand to support each of the three panels;  to discuss any issues and act as an additional link for custody visitors to the PCC.

Administration of the Custody Visiting Scheme is carried out by the Police & Crime Commissioner’s Office. The office also helps to co-ordinate the quarterly panel meetings, organise training, recruitment and induction for visitors.

Contact us to be an independent custody visitor

Read more about the role.

Read the latest Home Office of Code of Practice for Custody Visiting

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