What is Independent Custody Visiting?
Independent Custody Visiting was made a statutory requirement on police authorities under the Police Reform Act 2002 (Paragraph 51) and for elected Police & Crime Commissioners in the Police Reform & Social Responsibility Act (Schedule 16, Part 3, Section 299). Independent Custody Visitors are volunteers recruited and trained locally to make unannounced visits to police custody suites in their police service area to check on the welfare of people detained in custody and the conditions in which they are being held. Visits are made by pairs of volunteers but can only be carried out with the consent of detainees. After training, custody visitors will know what to ask, what to look for and what may be done. They must be impartial and favour neither the police nor the detainee. On completion of their visit a report form is completed and passed to all stakeholders involved in the Scheme.
Who are Independent Custody Visitors?
Volunteers are drawn from a variety of backgrounds and sections of the community. They must be over 18 (there is no upper age limit) and have no direct involvement in the Criminal Justice system, for example, as serving police officers or special constables. Other people such as solicitors or probation officers may be excluded, to prevent possible conflict of interests arising. This helps to maintain the independence of the Scheme as a whole.
How are Independent Custody Visitors selected and trained?
Applicants are required to complete an application form, which will be considered by an Appointments Panel. Shortlisted candidates are asked to attend a formal interview. Appointments will be confirmed subject to the receipt of satisfactory references; police vetting checks to verify information provided about criminal convictions; and the successful completion of a one-day Initial Training and Awareness course. Appointments are initially for three years, and will be confirmed following satisfactory completion of a six month probationary period. A full re-assessment of continuing suitability will take place every 3 years.
Volunteers can claim a mileage allowance for travelling to and from home to police custody suites. Actual receipted travelling expenses such as bus fares will also be reimbursed.
There are currently vacancies within our West Panel, which covers Lincoln Police Custody Suite and East Panel, which covers Skegness custody suite. Please contact the Scheme Manager, John King for more information on Tel 01522 947227 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Independent Custody Visiting Scheme Handbook v1.1
Information on Disqualification
Code of Practice on Independent Custody Visiting (2013)
Independent Custody Visiting National Standards (2015)