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The Essex Independent Custody Visiting Scheme

Since the Police Reform Act 2002, all Police and Crime Commissioners have had a statutory duty to maintain an Independent Custody Visiting Scheme for their area and the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex is currently recruiting for more volunteers.

Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) attend police custody suites to check on the treatment and welfare of detainees, the conditions in which they are held and that their rights and entitlements are being observed. By being open and transparent, the scheme is instrumental in offering protection to detainees and the police, and in providing reassurance to the wider community.

Additionally, it can also help drive through changes in PACE legislation to better uphold and protect the dignity of detainees, including children, women and the vulnerable members of society.

What are Independent Custody Visitors?

The programme is designed to independently monitor the standards of police custody suites, and safeguard the welfare of people detained within them.

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, Fire and Crime Commissioner, and any issues identified are then followed up.

What is the Independent Custody Scheme?

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. ICVs 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.

Who can become an Independent Custody Visitor?

Our custody visiting panel members must be over 18 years of age and are welcomed from all sections of the community. They must be independent of the criminal justice system to prevent possible conflicts of interest and to maintain the integrity of the scheme. Therefore, serving police officers and other serving members of Police or OPFCC staff are unsuitable for this reason. The same applies to Special Constables, Justices of the Peace (JPs), and Police and Crime Panel members.

Equality and Diversity Statement

The Essex OPFCC is firmly committed to promoting equality of opportunity for all local people and communities.

It aims to ensure that in its organisational structures, decision-making processes, ways of working, communicating and managing, diversity is welcomed and embraced.

The OFPCC shall treat all individuals, regardless of age, disability, gender re-assignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation with dignity and respect. It shall provide a working environment which is free from harassment, bullying, victimisation or discrimination.

In all our contacts with members of the community the principles of respect, dignity and fairness will be upheld.

Staff and volunteers of the OPFCC will demonstrate their commitment to this statement by ensuring that all policies and procedures reflect these aims and by challenging any behaviour which fails to uphold these principles.

The OPFCC extends this commitment to cover all aspects of diversity.

How to apply to become a Custody Visitor

If you are interested in becoming an ICV please contact the scheme manager, Liane Edwards.

Email liane.edwards@essex.pnn.police.uk or call 01245 291605.

ApplicationFormEssexICVScheme2018

ICV_Person_Specification

Essex ICV Handbook June 2018

Following successful interview a standard criminal record check will be undertaken. Comprehensive training is provided and all visits will be carried out alongside an experienced panel member.

After an initial probationary period of six months, ICVs are appointed for up to a further three years as a review of all appointments is undertaken once every three years.

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 PFCC.

Quarterly Visit Statistics 2018 - 2019

Essex OPFCC Independent Custody Scheme  Statistics Q1   Apr 18 – June 18

STATION DETAINEES in custody at time of visits VISITED DECLINED JDR 136 NOT VISITED either Sleeping, Interview Actual able to visit (detainees less not visited) % Visited
BASILDON 42 19 1 4 0 22 20 95.00
CHELMSFORD 35 19 0 6 0 16 19 100.00
CLACTON 27 12 0 5 0 15 12 100.00
COLCHESTER 23 12 0 5 1 11 12 100.00
GRAYS 53 29 0 8 0 24 29 100.00
HARLOW 51 22 3 2 0 26 25 88.00
SOUTHEND 50 13 0 3 0 37 13 100.00
TOTAL 281 126 4 33 1 151 130

Essex OPFCC Independent Custody Scheme  Statistics Q2   Jul 18 – Sep 18

STATION DETAINEES VISITED DECLINED JDR 136 NOT VISITED either Sleeping, Interview Actual able to visit (detainees less not visited) % Visited
BASILDON 57 33 0 5 1 24 33 100.00
CHELMSFORD 52 24 3 4 0 25 27 88.89
CLACTON 16 6 0 3 3 10 6 100.00
COLCHESTER 27 14 0 7 1 13 14 100.00
GRAYS 39 10 0 3 0 29 10 100.00
HARLOW 32 17 5 1 0 10 22 77.27
SOUTHEND 46 23 0 5 0 23 23 100.00
TOTAL 269 127 8 28 5 134 135

 

Quarterly Visit Statistics 2017 - 2018
Essex OPFCC Independent Custody Scheme  Statistics Q1   Apr 17 – June 17
STATION DETAINEES in custody at time of visits VISITED DECLINED JDR 136 NOT VISITED either Sleeping, Interview Actual able to visit (detainees less not visited) % Visited
BASILDON 48 27 0 1 0 21 27 100.00
CHELMSFORD 50 33 1 3 0 16 34 97.06
CLACTON 36 22 1 1 0 13 23 95.65
COLCHESTER Closed
GRAYS 32 14 0 1 0 18 14 100.00
HARLOW 45 27 1 4 2 17 28 96.43
SOUTHEND 47 21 1 3 1 25 22 95.45
STANSTED 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 258 144 4 13 3 110 148

 

Essex OPFCC Independent Custody Scheme  Statistics Q2   Jul 17 – September 17
STATION DETAINEES in custody at time of visits VISITED DECLINED JDR 136 NOT VISITED either Sleeping, Interview Actual able to visit (detainees less not visited) % Visited
BASILDON Closed
CHELMSFORD 42 17 0 4 0 25 17 100.00
CLACTON 27 14 1 2 0 12 15 93.33
COLCHESTER 30 12 5 3 1 13 17 70.59
GRAYS 40 32 2 1 0 6 34 94.12
HARLOW 38 17 0 1 0 21 17 100.00
SOUTHEND 100 42 2 10 4 56 44 95.45
STANSTED 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 277 134 10 21 5 133 144

 

Essex OPFCC Independent Custody Scheme  Statistics Q3   Oct 17 – Dec 17
STATION DETAINEES in custody at time of visits VISITED DECLINED JDR 136 NOT VISITED either Sleeping, Interview Actual able to visit (detainees less not visited) % Visited
BASILDON Closed
CHELMSFORD 37 19 2 2 0 16 21 90.48
CLACTON 34 17 0 2 0 17 17 100.00
COLCHESTER 32 12 5 3 1 15 17 70.59
GRAYS 55 27 0 6 2 28 27 100.00
HARLOW 23 8 0 3 0 15 8 100.00
SOUTHEND 68 27 3 12 0 38 30 90.00
STANSTED 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 249 110 10 28 3 129 120

 

Essex OPFCC Independent Custody Scheme  Statistics Q4   Jan 18 – Mar 18
STATION DETAINEES in custody at time of visits VISITED DECLINED JDR 136 NOT VISITED either Sleeping, Interview Actual able to visit (detainees less not visited) % Visited
BASILDON 55 33 0 2 0 22 33 100.00
CHELMSFORD 37 30 0 4 0 7 30 100.00
CLACTON 33 12 1 3 0 20 13 92.31
COLCHESTER 29 11 1 1 0 17 12 91.67
GRAYS 32 10 2 1 0 20 12 83.33
HARLOW 27 10 2 1 0 15 12 83.33
SOUTHEND 57 19 1 4 0 37 20 95.00
STANSTED 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 270 125 7 16 0 138 132

 

Annual Reports
HMICFRS Reports

2017 HMIC Custody Report

HMIC Report Custody Essex Police 2017

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 PFCC

PFCC for Essex, Kelvedon Park, London Road, Rivenhall, Witham, Essex, CM8 3HB
01245 291600

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

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