Independent Custody Visitor
Once a week two visitors from a local panel attend a police station at a random and unannounced time to make an inspection and speak to detainees. On arrival at the police station, visitors are escorted to the custody area where they interview a number of detainees in their cells and complete a structured report form.
For the visitors' protection, interviews are normally carried out within sight, but out of hearing, of the escorting police officer. Strict rules of confidentiality apply. Detainees are identified only by their custody numbers, and the details of what visitors see and hear must also be treated as confidential. It is equally important that independent custody visitors maintain their independence and impartiality and do not become involved or take sides. They are there to look, listen and report on conditions in the custody facility.
The visit report form (VRF) completed after each visit provides an insight into the running of the custody facility, and the conditions under which the detainees there at the time are being held, including the provision of their rights and entitlements. Copies of the reports are provided for the police, police authority and the visitors' local panel for discussion and follow up.
Panel Meetings ICV panels hold their local police to account on behalf of their community. Police representatives attend local meetings of the panel to discuss the ICV reports and address any concerns that have been raised. These meetings assist in rectifying any problems affecting the running of custody and conditions for detainees in the borough.
To be eligible to join the London Independent Custody Visitor Scheme you must be 18 or over and have no direct involvement in the criminal justice system. For example, serving police officers or staff, special constables or magistrates would not be considered for the role. Other people such as solicitors or probation officers may also be excluded.
Emergency Services and Safety, Human and Civil Rights
Legal and the Law, Advice, Information and Support
Skills Required :
Negotiation and influencing, Listening and communication, Interpersonal skills, Literacy, Planning and organising
Skills To Gain :
Negotiation and influencing, Reviewing and evaluation