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Volunteers' Week: Independent Custody Visitors

Posted: Wednesday 3rd June 2020
Blog: June

For Volunteers’ Week, we spoke to Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) Anita Dibble to find out more about why the role is important and the ongoing work behind the doors of police custody.


What do you do as an ICV?

As ICVs we check the rights, entitlements and wellbeing of detainees in custody. We also work with staff to enable the smooth running of custody and, where possible, suggest improvements.


Our role is important because we can comment on custody issues that need improving as well as the things that are going well. Through our ongoing communication with detainees, concerns can hopefully be resolved, processes improved and we can increase the number of things going well. Our work in custody creates transparency, understanding and potential for solutions.


How has your role adapted since the Covid-19 lockdown?

During the lockdown, the priority across the world has been to keep people safe. We have adapted our role to ensure both volunteers and detainees are safe and protected by doing remote ICV visits.


ICVs have adapted well and are doing remote calls to detainees in custody to check on their rights, entitlements and wellbeing. We have also been checking custody record and, as a priority, we have been focusing on high risk detainees.


A key part in the middle of all of this has been to adapt on all fronts. For example, some ICVs can do phone calls whereas others find it easier to check custody records. We appreciate each ICVs contribution in which ever form, every bit helps.


Covid-19 has brought uncertainty and, at times, confusion. Throughout all of this, communication has been key. Therefore, we encourage open, honest and clear communication amongst all ICVs. We are patient, understanding and approachable to ensure if anyone needs clarification, we are there to provide it. Working together as a team is essential to our work.


What is the best part about being an ICV?

There is a lovely camaraderie and altruism in the ICV team. We all like to feel we are making a difference and there is a purpose to what we are contributing to. We all understand even those tiny things we do lead to bigger things later down the road.


Something we already did as ICVs has also been pivotal in the middle of Covid-19 - looking out for each other, checking in and making sure everyone is alright. We do this because we care about those in custody and, naturally, we care about each other to. If we had to nominate one person to represent ICVs it would be a struggle because each member of the ICV team brings value, passion and kindness. Appreciation of the team is important because we know that together we achieve great things.


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