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Essex’s Custody Visiting Scheme receives silver Quality Assurance Award

The Independent Custody Visiting Scheme run by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s Office has been awarded a prestigious national award for the quality of its independent custody visiting scheme.

The inaugural Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA*) Quality Assurance awards were presented at a ceremony at the House of Lords on Wednesday 15 May.

ICVA is the national organisation which supports, leads and represents locally-run custody visiting schemes. Schemes manage teams of independent volunteers who visit those detained in police custody.

Volunteers make unannounced visits to police custody to check on the rights, entitlements, well-being and dignity of detainees held in police custody, reporting their findings to Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners who in turn hold Chief Constables to account.

The Quality Assurance awards were introduced by ICVA to help schemes:

  • Reflect on how they comply with the Code of Practice, the legislation that underpins custody visiting.
  • Celebrate areas of strength.
  • Promote custody visiting and the achievements schemes have made.
  • Drive performance and increase sharing of good practice

Welcoming the award, Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex said: “We have an excellent group of volunteers who work hard to provide an independent assessment of the quality and safety of custody across Essex. As well as helping the custody teams at Essex Police maintain their high standards the Essex ICVs have also highlighted issues that have led to changes in the national standards.”

Martyn Underhill, Chairman of ICVA, said: “These awards recognise the standard of scheme being run in the area, and help drive up the standards of our schemes across the UK.  Warm congratulations to all of the winners.”

Katie Kempen, Chief Executive at ICVA said: “Independent custody visiting schemes ensure that the public have oversight of a high pressure and often hidden area of policing.  These awards demonstrate how local schemes use volunteer feedback to make change and ensure that police custody is safe and dignified for all.  I congratulate schemes on their accomplishments.”

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