Volunteers wanted to visit custody suites2 December, 2016
Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw is looking for volunteers to check on the welfare of people in custody.
Residents have the chance to get involved and make a difference to policing in Lancashire by becoming an independent custody visitor (ICV).
There are currently more than 40 volunteer ICVs in the county, who make random unannounced visits, in pairs, to police stations. Their job is to speak to detainees to ensure they are being treated properly and work with staff to resolve any issues.
Mr Grunshaw said: “ICVs are absolutely vital to ensure we continue to work to the highest standards. The wellbeing of detainees, many of whom can be quite vulnerable people, is very important and by providing impartial feedback our ICVs help to ensure everyone is treated fairly.
“People who find themselves in the cells may have underlying problems with things like mental health and substance misuse so it is vital they have access to the help they need.”
ICVs are expected to carry out a minimum of 10 visits each year and the Commissioner is looking to increase the number of volunteers working to ensure detainees are treated fairly.
Mr Grunshaw added: “ICVs tell me they find their work rewarding because they have the chance to speak up for vulnerable people and make a difference to their communities.
“Volunteering is an excellent way to give something back to the community, gain new skills and improve your CV so I hope to see a wide range of applications from people of all backgrounds.”
Sheila Maw, an ICV coordinator working in East Lancashire, said the volunteers’ work benefits both detainees and the police. She added: “I love doing it – it is very rewarding work.
“Going in and seeing people who end up in custody, makes you think. We tend not to see another side of life and I think it is something we ought to do.”
Tony Mozley, an ICV coordinator working in Blackpool, added: “I have been doing it for 13 years after I retired from work 14 years ago and saw an advert in the paper. There are never two days the same. It is rewarding because you feel like you are doing something useful.”
ICVs work with a partner and arrive unannounced at police stations. Their unique status means police must give them immediate access to the custody area, cells, detention rooms and charge rooms.
After the visit they prepare a report, a copy of which goes to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and is forwarded to the custody inspector for any action.
For anyone interested in becoming an ICV, details are available at www.lancashire-pcc.gov.uk/get-involved/ or alternatively call Jay Nicholas at the PCC’s office on 01772 532251.