Dedicated volunteers who monitor standards and welfare across Derbyshire’s custody suites have been presented with a top award in honour of their service.
Members of Derbyshire’s Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) scheme received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest honour for volunteering in the UK – from the county’s HM Lord Lieutenant Elizabeth Fothergill CBE during an afternoon celebration at Force Headquarters, with full social distancing measures in place at all times.
The ICV team, which is managed by Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa, is the first of its kind in the country to receive the accolade, which recognises outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their communities and was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.
It comes just a year after the volunteers scooped Platinum in the Quality Assurance awards.
Congratulating their success, Mr Dhindsa said: “I’m immensely proud of the achievements of our ICVs who have not only won two of the most prestigious awards available but have also been at the forefront of a national pilot to innovate inspection procedures and safeguard vulnerable detainees.
“Throughout the pandemic, our hardworking and committed volunteers have continued to provide oversight of the county’s custody facilities and provide scrutiny at a time when policing is under additional pressure with new hygiene regulations and social distancing measures to maintain.
“Such pressures can impact on procedures and I’m very grateful to our volunteers for ensuring Derbyshire preserves the very best care and welfare standards of those in custody including the vulnerable.
“So much has already been achieved but we will not become complacent and continue to push the boundaries of innovation to ensure custody provision in Derbyshire, and beyond, is managed exceptionally well and the needs of detainees are paramount.”
Elizabeth Fothergill CBE, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Derbyshire, added: “As Her Majesty’s representative in the County of Derbyshire, it is my great honour and pleasure to present the QAVS on behalf of HM The Queen to some truly exceptional organisations, so I am delighted to be presenting the Award to the Derbyshire Custody Record Review Scheme volunteers.
“The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is an annual award for outstanding achievement by groups which volunteer their own time to enhance and improve the quality of life and opportunity of others in their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Queen’s coronation.
“Group volunteers undertake the detailed review and scrutiny of sample custody records from police custody of detainees, to monitor the treatment of detainees in police custody in Derbyshire. This is a unique development from the long-standing Derbyshire Independent Custody Visiting Scheme, and shows the potential to bring about a massive change in volunteer independent oversight of police detention practices, undoubtedly improving the quality of life of others.
“This dedicated and highly skilled group of volunteers is taking a dynamic and innovative approach to their task, driving improvement. The methodology has already helped improve the management of juveniles in police detention, the treatment of female detainees and of those held for immigration offences. This trailblazing approach to an unglamorous but vital function is proving highly effective in helping to ensure the safe, lawful and humane treatment of persons in police custody.
“The scheme has met the most rigorous assessment process and all the volunteers should be proud of their significant achievement, the QAVS is the MBE for charities and I am delighted that such an innovative Derbyshire organisation has been recognised and rewarded. Congratulations to all involved.”
Derbyshire’s ICV scheme was one of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups across the country to be presented with the prestigious award this year.
ICV reports, which are shared with the force, are taken very seriously, often providing the springboard for improvements in the provision of custody services. Their visits provide an independent assessment of the way in which custody provision complies with national requirements.
Derbyshire led the way with a new style of custody inspection involving the retrospective review of custody records to evaluate the care and support of vulnerable people including those with mental health or learning difficulties, migrants and children.
This work led to a national pilot involving five other schemes across the UK and positive changes included making sure child detainees are able to access an Appropriate Adult in custody within a reasonable timeframe, the use of cell call bells to prevent harm and improvements to the dignity and care of female detainees.
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Posted on Thursday 5th November 2020