Commissioner Seeking Volunteers to Check on Detainee Welfare Whilst in Police Custody

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire is looking for volunteers to help conduct visits to the county’s Custody Suites.

Independent Custody Visiting is a statutory requirement of Police & Crime Commissioners, providing independent oversight of the detention of people in police custody.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer, visiting Middlewich Custody Suite with ICVs Rachael Dyer (left) and Kat Kinsman (right)

Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) are independent members of the local community who volunteer their time to check on the welfare of people detained in police custody. 

ICVs will make unannounced weekly visits to the custody suite and will speak directly to those people who are being detained.  They will check individuals have had access to food and drink, access to solicitors and appropriate adults and phone calls, amongst other things.

ICVs will also observe the physical environment, engage with Custody staff and the Health care professionals to ensure everyone is supported in the best possible way, whilst in custody.

ICVs observe and can make recommendations which require the police to make improvements for the welfare of detainees where necessary, and play a valuable role in maintaining public confidence in this important area of policing.

John Dwyer, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, said: “Volunteers play a pivotal role in my office, and without their help and feedback I wouldn’t be able to do my job effectively.

“I’d encourage anyone who would like a new challenge to take a look at what’s involved in this volunteering opportunity and get in touch if you’d like to make a difference.”

Stella Lappin, Independent Custody Visitor, said: “My role as an ICV helps me put something back into the community; I feel like I’m making a real difference. As part of the role, I visit custody suites to ensure detainees are treated with respect. ICVs are non-judgemental and ensure that all those in custody are treated fairly.”

Despite the Covid-19 Pandemic, ICVs continued to offer welfare checks to detainees and conducted 147 visits in person or telephone calls directly to detainees. The scheme ran throughout the lockdown periods, reverting to a remote visiting scheme, ensuring over 300 detainees still received welfare checks. 

John Dwyer added: “We currently have a number of experienced and dedicated volunteers who work hard to ensure standards are high and that members of the public are well-serviced. 

“I’m extremely grateful for all of our volunteers hard work. If you would like to be a part of this team, then please get in touch.”

To find out more about ICVs and how to apply visit: https://www.cheshire-pcc.gov.uk/who-i-am/about-the-opcc/the-office/work-with-us/

The deadline to submit applications is 5pm on 31 January 2022