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Independent Custody Visiting

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Independent Custody Visiting (ICV) Scheme

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THE ROLE, PLEASE CONTACT THE SCHEME ADMINISTRATOR.

What is Custody Visiting?

The ICV scheme originated following recommendations from the Scarman report into the widespread civil unrest in the early 1980s, and its value and purpose has been emphasised in numerous reports and investigations since.

Since the Police reform Act 2002, all Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales have had a statuary obligation to deliver an Independent Custody Visitor scheme for their force area. The programme is designed to independently monitor the standards of police custody suites, and safeguard the welfare of people detained within them. The scheme enables appointed volunteers to visit police station custody suites at any time of day or night, to check on the treatment of detainees, the conditions in which they are held and that their rights and entitlements are being observed. It offers protection to both detainees and police, and reassurance to the wider public.

What is involved?

Custody visitors carry out between two and four visits to custody suites per month, and complete and submit a simple report after each visit.

Visits must be undertaken in pairs for health and safety reasons and generally last no more than an hour. It is important that visitors are able to compare different custody suites and the standards within them, so volunteers visit more than one suite in their relevant geographical cluster and at varying times of the day and of the week wherever possible.

ICV volunteers are not there to investigate or become involved in any of the on-going investigations which have resulted in the detention of a person.

When custody visitors visit police custody suites they must maintain their impartiality and must not take sides, but look, listen and report on what is seen or said to them by detained people about their experience since arriving in custody. After each visit a report provides a current picture of the custody suite, and any issues that the custody visitor has identified to do with the maintenance standards of the facility, and the rights and welfare of those detained in custody. The reports are reviewed and the results presented to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, and any issues identified are then followed up.

Who can become a Custody Visitor?

Custody visitors must be over 18 years of age and come from all sections of the community. They must be independent of the criminal justice system to prevent possible conflicts of interest, and for the individual and to maintain the integrity of the scheme.

Training and Selection

Anyone wishing to become a custody visitor must complete a simple application form and provide the names of two referees. 

Following successful interview a standard criminal record check will be undertaken. Comprehensive training is provided for all custody visitors on custody practices, and the rights and entitlements of detainees.

Appointment

Custody visitor appointment is through the Executive Director of the Office of the PCC and subject to completion of probation and review.

Appointments will be for three years with the option of re-appointment for a further period at the group’s discretion. The Chief Executive of the PCC has the authority to terminate a custody visitor’s appointment where the custody visitor fails to meet the standards required.

Expenses

Custody visitors are volunteers and as such there is no financial remuneration. However, reasonable expenses incurred on custody visitor matters will be reimbursed by the PCC.

For more information on what is involved in being an independent custody visitor please download our Essex Independent Custody Visitor Scheme Role Profile.

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IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THE ROLE, PLEASE CHECK THIS PAGE REGULARLY.

To apply to join the Independent custody visitor scheme please complete the ICV PCC Application and return it by email to: PCC@essex.pnn.police.uk or by post to:

Essex ICV Scheme Administrator

PCC for Essex
3 Hoffmanns Way
Chelmsford
Essex
CM1 1GU

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What Happens Next

Once we have received your application form you may be invited to an informal interview with the OPCC team to discuss the scheme, your interests and experience, and appropriateness for the role, after which a standard vetting process will begin.

Subject to interview and vetting you may be offered a place on the scheme, and will be expected to complete a short, interactive training course to equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary for the role. Entry onto the Essex ICV scheme is at the discretion of the Chief Executive of the OPCC and subject to successful vetting and application process.

If you have any further questions about the Independent Custody Visitor scheme, please email your query to: Liane.Edwards@essex.pnn.police.uk  or call 01245 291605.

CONTACT THE PCC.

PCC for Essex, 3 Hoffmans Way, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1GU
01245 291600

If your enquiry relates to operational policing or a crime please contact Essex Police here