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Hunting for Voluntary Visitors to the Custody Cells

Derbyshire’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa, is spearheading a campaign that will see more people going into the police custody cells – on a purely voluntary basis.

The Deputy, who is responsible for the Commissioner’s Independent Custody Scheme, is seeking members of the local community to join his group of Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) covering the Constabulary’s custody suites across the county.

ICVs arrive at the suites unannounced, making an impartial check on the conditions and welfare of those being held in police custody. 

Mr Dhindsa explained: “The scheme provides independent verification that detainees are being looked after according to the regulations. It is a reassurance for everyone concerned as Independent Custody Visiting is primarily designed to highlight any current or potential issues in the custody areas.

“If there is a problem or complaint, most issues are dealt with at the time. However, more serious issues are forwarded to the police to resolve and the outcome is reported back to me.”

Volunteer Custody Visitors do not take sides either for or against detainees or custody staff, but act in the best interest of all involved. Their role includes talking with those who are detained, checking the suites for cleanliness, making sure there are adequate stocks of supplies and raising any issues which may need to be addressed whilst detainees are in custody.

Mr Dhindsa said: “I believe that the independent nature of these assessments gives members of the public greater confidence in the custody system and how it is run. Both the Commissioner and I are proud to support the scheme, its volunteers and those in our office who run it. The scheme simply would not work without their energy, commitment and professionalism, and I am tremendously grateful to them.”

Anyone wishing to join the scheme must live or work within Derbyshire, be over 18, have no direct involvement in the criminal justice system and attend the scheme’s open evening on Wednesday 6 November. The role will suit people who are observant, good listeners, interested in policing – and have some spare time to make the visits. To attend the open evening, you must register with the scheme administrator by Friday 1 November.Email: louise.meehan.9767@derbyshire.pnn,police.uk or call 0300 122 6008.

The deadline for completed applications is 20 November, with interview dates on 4 or 5 December. Candidates selected will be given the necessary training to enable them to carry out their visits.

For more information about the criteria,visit the website at http://www.derbyshire-pcc.gov.uk/Home.aspx; call 0300 122 6000 or email pccoffice@derbyshire.pnn.police.uk. Alternatively, you can write to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, ButterleyHall, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 3RS

Further information on custody visiting can also be found at the Independent Custody Visiting Association’s website at http://www.icva.org.uk/

Ends

Media Enquires:   Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401

Posted on Tuesday 15th October 2013
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