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Independent custody visiting

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 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 conflicts of interest 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.


HMICFRS/HMIP Joint Custody Inspections

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) undertake police custody inspections jointly with Her Majesty’s Inspector of Prisons (HMIP).  The inspections look at strategy, treatment and conditions, individual rights and health care. They also contribute to the United Kingdom’s response to its international obligation to ensure regular and independent inspection of all places of detention.  Copies of the Joint Inspection reports for Lincolnshire can be accessed using the links below:

1st Inspection Report – January 2011

2nd Inspection Report - September 2015

3rd Inspection Report - August 2022


Eligibility criteria for becoming an independent custody visitor


Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age (there is no upper age limit) and be living or working within Lincolnshire and been resident in the UK for at least 2 years prior to the date of application.


Persons who have either spent/unspent convictions for criminal offences may not be suitable. Relevant factors include the nature and number of any offences and how long ago they were committed. However, past offending is not an automatic barrier to acceptance as a visitor and each case is considered individually.

Criminal records checks will be carried out on successful applicants to confirm the information on their application form is correct.

Other Exclusions

Candidates must be sufficiently mobile to undertake custody visits. The application form requests details of any disability and/or medical condition that could affect a candidate’s ability to undertake a visit. 


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.


We have vacancies within all four of our local visiting panels, namely, the South East Panel (serving Boston custody suite), West Panel (serving Lincoln custody suite), East Panel (serving Skegness custody suite) and South West Panel (serving Grantham custody suite). The closing date for receipt of completed applications is 31 March 2024.

If you are interested in applying for one of the above-mentioned vacancies, then you can either download the application pack (see links below), or you can contact the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and request an application pack be emailed or posted out to you.

Contact details are as follows:


Telephone: 01522 212351                                                           

Address:  OPCC for Lincolnshire, Deepdale Lane, Nettleham LN2 2LT

Application Pack 

More information

View our scheme for independent custody visiting to police custody suites in Lincolnshire.

Read the Code of Practice on Independent Custody Visiting on the website

Independent Custody Visiting Association