The Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire operates an Independent Custody Visitors volunteer scheme for the county. This involves a team of volunteers who make unannounced visits to police stations to check on the welfare of detainees and the conditions in which they are held.
What is an Independent Custody Visitor (ICV)?
Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) are members of the public recruited to visit police stations at random to check on the treatment of people held in custody by the police.
ICVs work with a partner and arrive unannounced at police stations. The police must give them immediate access to the custody area, cells, detention rooms and charge rooms.
Their job is to speak to the person in custody and inspect the conditions in which they are being held. After the visit they prepare a report, a copy of which goes to the Custody Inspector for any action and a further copy goes to the Scheme Administrator in the Police and Crime Commissioners office.
If the ICVs find anything wrong, they try to resolve the situation straight away by talking to the duty Inspector. If it cannot be resolved then the duty Inspector will explain what action will be taken, and when. Good communication is essential in this role and regular meetings are held between the ICVs, the Constabulary and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner with regular training given to ICVs to help them with their role.
Volunteer Profile: Graham Lawton – Idependent Custody Visitor
Graham has been a volunteer for around seven years, giving up his time to be an Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) and checking on the welfare and treatment of people in custody on behalf of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office.
“As an ICV I am a second pair of eyes for custody staff and for the community. It is my role to visit local police stations unannounced, speak to detainees in custody about their treatment and bring any issues to the attention of custody staff.
“The role is really rewarding and sometimes challenging but you receive lots of training to become an ICV, which is brilliant. If you want to make a change in the community, become a volunteer.”
For more information about becoming an ICV please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01772 533 587.