PFCC Observes Custody Visit
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst visited Chelmsford custody suite this week to see first-hand the critical role our Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) play in making police custody transparent and ensuring those detained are treated fairly.
Roger has a team of independent custody visitors who carry out unannounced visits to custody to check on the welfare of detainees. He joined ICV’s Rich Wicks and Veronica Sherry and ICV scheme manager Kasia Grabka and Custody Manager Insp Harding to observe how ICVs conduct visits and hear about the kinds of issues that arise.
These can range from detainees requesting an extra blanket or a hot drink to not understanding their rights and entitlements or asking for an update on progress. ICVs also examine the physical environment of the custody suite, ensuring it meets the required level of safety and has working facilities.
Roger said: “Bridging the gap between custody staff and detainees, means ICVs are able to raise concerns as well as highlight good practice taking place in our custody suites. I am extremely grateful for the time they give and invaluable service they provide.”
Last year our ICVs conducted over 175 visits and interacted with 950 detainees. They have also brought about legislative change ensuring female detainees are offered sanitary packs on entering custody suites. They also liaise with language services to provide flash cards in over fifty different languages to each custody suite, meaning custody staff can communicate with detainees more easily.
Would you be interested in finding out more about the scheme and becoming an Independent Custody Visitor? ICVs must be over 18 years of age and are welcome 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. They can expect to conduct between two to four visits per month at various times of the week. Find out more Independent Custody Visiting – Essex Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner (pfcc.police.uk) or you can contact the scheme manager at [email protected]