The Avon and Somerset Independent Custody Visiting (ICV) scheme has been recognised with a national award.
Under the scheme, volunteers from across Avon and Somerset make regular unannounced visits to one of three police custody suites in the region to check on the rights, entitlements and wellbeing of people who have been arrested.
The Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) – the national membership organisation that supports, leads and represents these schemes – has developed a quality assurance framework to assess how well schemes comply with the code of practice governing custody visiting.
This is the second year that these schemes have been assessed nationally under the framework. The Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset scheme was presented with a Code Complaint quality assurance award by ICVA at a ceremony in Birmingham.
Commenting on the award, Mark Shelford, Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) said:
“I am pleased to hear that our scheme has been recognised in these national awards. I would like to extend a huge thank you to all the dedicated staff and volunteers who make this scheme possible.
“Becoming a custody visitor volunteer is a great opportunity in our work to ensure efficient and effective policing which serves all our communities.”
Dame Anne Owers, Chair of ICVA, said:
“Independent custody visiting schemes ensure that the public have oversight of a high pressure and often hidden area of policing. These awards demonstrate how local schemes use volunteer feedback to make change and ensure that police custody is safe and dignified for all.”
Sherry Ralph, Chief Executive at ICVA said:
“The quality assurance framework represents a significant amount of additional work to ensure that independent custody visiting is regularly reviewed, improvements are made where they are needed and excellent practice is shared. I congratulate schemes on their accomplishments and thank them for their commitment.”