Police custody visit scheme in Hertfordshire receives award after unannounced checks by community volunteers

The Hertfordshire scheme was presented with a quality assurance award
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The Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office (OPCC) has been recognised nationally for the quality of its custody visiting scheme.

Under this scheme, trained volunteers from the community – known as Independent Custody Visitors or ICVs ­– make regular unannounced visits to police custody suites to check on the rights, entitlements, wellbeing and dignity of those held there.

Their findings are reported to the Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd who holds the Chief Constable to account.

Mr Lloyd inspecting Hatfield custody suite. Submitted image.Mr Lloyd inspecting Hatfield custody suite. Submitted image.
Mr Lloyd inspecting Hatfield custody suite. Submitted image.

The Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) - the national membership organisation that supports, leads and represents these schemes - has developed a framework to assess how well schemes comply with the code of practice that governs custody visiting.

The Hertfordshire scheme was presented with a silver quality assurance award by ICV this week, at a ceremony in Birmingham.

Welcoming the award, David Lloyd said: “This award recognises the great work undertaken by our volunteers to ensure that conditions in the Constabulary custody suites are maintained to exceptional standards. The health and wellbeing of those being held is monitored during several visits every week to ensure the rights, wellbeing and health of detainees are upheld.”

Dame Anne Owers, Chair of 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.”

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer visitor can visit the police commissioner website.