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Guest blog: I found out what it’s like behind the scenes of police custody

Cells in custody
Photo © Chris McAndrew / All Moral Rights Asserted 2017

We spoke to Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) Anita Dibble about what the volunteering role involves.

“I joined the Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) team approximately four and a half years ago. I wanted the experience of working in a law environment, whilst taking a masters level qualification at university. I completed my qualification a few years ago but have felt committed and involved in the ICV scheme since.

“I have found Custody to be a fast pace, revolving door. It’s a place of learning, adapting and adjusting to improve the service. Collaboration and listening to Custody staff is just as important as listening to the detainee because, with excellent communication, issues can be resolved much easier and better with understanding on both sides.

“Being an ICV has given me a sense of meaning even though that may often be felt only in a small way. However, sometimes when all those small things come together I have seen it can and does make big difference. I noticed this has been achieved by every ICV’s participation throughout the organisation, which demonstrates the power of team work.

“Doing this voluntary work has taught me a lot about the complexities of a law environment and crime in the public. I have found it teaches you various skills such as; listening, empathy, confidentiality, organisational, teamwork, how drug and alcohol addiction and mental health is often linked to crime and how other care professionals collaborate with the police to name just a few.

“ICV can make a massive difference and there are many skills to obtain. It truly has been a fulfilling interesting, enlightening and valuable learning experience for me. It is also a lovely experience to see how other ICV members participate and really care about what they do. There is nothing better than a group of well-meaning individuals looking to improve things in a supportive, caring way and all done in their own time. Now that is something to be proud of I think.”

Thinking of volunteering?

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for the OPCC, find out more about the latest volunteering opportunities.