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Essex Independent Custody Visiting Scheme recognised for quality assurance

Release date: Wednesday 29 November 2023

Essex ICV Scheme achieves quality assurance standard

ICV Scheme manager Kasia Grabka and Rich Wicks collecting QAF certificate

The Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has been recognised nationally for the quality of its independent custody visiting scheme.

Under the scheme, trained volunteers from the local community (Independent Custody Visitors or ICVs), managed by Kasia Grabka from the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s office, make regular unannounced visits to police custody suites to check on the rights, entitlements, wellbeing and dignity of the detainees held there.

Their findings are then reported to the Police and Crime Commissioners and Police Authorities who hold Chief Constables to account.

Welcoming the award, Essex, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) Roger Hirst said: “I’m incredibly proud of the team for achieving this award. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated and knowledgeable group of volunteers, who work hard to provide an independent ICV assessment of the quality and safety of custody suites across Essex.”

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 that governs custody visiting.

This is the second year that schemes have been assessed under the framework and have been able to gain quality assurance awards to recognise the value of their work. The Essex ICV scheme was presented with a silver quality assurance award by ICVA on Wednesday 29 November, at a ceremony in Birmingham.

Kasia Grabka, Essex ICV Scheme Manager, said: “We work really hard here in Essex to ensure the public have oversight of detainees and the police custody estate. Receiving the silver award reflects the dedication of volunteers and the professionalism of Essex Police custody staff.

“I am incredibly grateful to the ICV team who give up their time to visit custody suites across the county and help safeguard the welfare of people detained within them.”

Kevin Baldwin, T/Assistant Chief Constable at Essex Police, said: “Essex Police work hard to ensure that those using our custody suites are safe and the Independent Custody Visitor team (ICV) provide us with external scrutiny and advice to help achieve this.

“The ICV team winning this award demonstrates how valued their work is and we look forward to continuing our work with them in the future.”

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.”

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

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