Custody volunteers wanted from Dacorum to check on detainee conditions

New volunteers interested in making unannounced visits to police custody to check on detainee’s conditions are being asked to come forward.

Monday, 28th September 2020, 2:42 pm
Updated Monday, 28th September 2020, 2:46 pm

In 2019/2020 13,792 detainees passed through Hertfordshire’s two police custody units, with 8,035 held in Hatfield and 5,757 in Stevenage.

During that time members of the Independent Custody Visiting (ICV) team made 129 custody visits and spoke to a total of 555 detainees.

The office of the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner runs the ICV scheme which aims to safeguard the rights of suspects.

Custody

Now new members are needed for the ICV team and anyone over 18, who lives or works in the county is eligible apply to join. The team aims to have volunteers from all backgrounds to match the demographics of Hertfordshire.

Volunteers work in pairs, will be given full training plus expenses and are expected to do around eight to 12 visits annually. ICVs can visit custody suites at any time of day or night, seven days a week, so those with full-time work or study commitments are welcome to volunteer.

The Independent Custody Visiting (ICV) Scheme offers protection and confidentiality to detainees and the police, as well as reassuring the community at large.

The aim of the scheme is to enable ICVs to visit police stations in order to inspect the upholding of detainee rights, health and wellbeing, in addition to auditing the condition of custody suites.

Volunteers Sharifa Chaudry and Rod Cates at a Herts custody suite

Last year the Hertfordshire Police & Crime Commissioner office won a prestigious national award for the quality of its independent custody visiting scheme. The inaugural Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) Quality Assurance awards granted the scheme a Silver Award for the way it was run. To complete an application form to volunteer email [email protected] or visit http://hertscommissioner.org/ICV. For an informal chat, call 01707 806182. Applications close at midnight on 14th October 2020 with interviews on the week commencing 26th October 2020.

Background

Under the Police Reform Act 2002, all police force areas are required to have a custody visiting scheme in place. The scheme gives the public reassurance that detainees are being treated fairly by carrying out independent checks to ensure their legal rights and entitlements are given as well as checking their welfare and dignity are being maintained. The Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office (OPCC) manages and supports the running of the scheme including the day to day enquiries, recruitment of the volunteers and ensuring improvements and development of the scheme.

Volunteers Sharifa Chaudry and Rod Cates at a Herts custody suite