The Deputy is responsible for the Commissioner’s countywide Independent Custody Visiting Scheme, which sees volunteer Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) visiting detainees in police custody. They arrive, unannounced, to check on the conditions and welfare of those being held in the cells. Derbyshire also have in place an Independent Custody Reviewing Scheme which reviews the records of vulnerable individuals who have been detained in Custody.
ICVs need good observational and thinking skills, strong ethical principles and should be comfortable challenging authority if required. Ideally the volunteers will also come from a range of backgrounds, ages and experience.
ICVs have a really important role, helping to ensure that the welfare and rights of people detained in police custody cells are maintained. They typify the important role that volunteers play in promoting community safety and excellent policing in Derbyshire.
The purpose of the scheme is to provide independent verification that detainees are being looked after according to the regulations. This provides reassurance for members of the public and those who work in the custody areas.
There are some restrictions on who can volunteer as an independent custody visitor in order to avoid conflicts of interest. For example, serving members of the police force and those who currently sit on the bench are not eligible to become custody visitors. If you are concerned that you may have a conflict of interest, then please contact the office and we will be able to advise you.
Visitors are volunteers, and are not paid a salary but are reimbursed for any expenses they incur whilst carrying out their duties.
At the end of their visit, before leaving the Police station, ICV's complete an electronic visit report form which is used to inform the Commissioner's office, the custody suite and the Criminal Justice Department who are in overall charge of the suites of any issues raised and actions taken.
At the end of a Custody Record Review, volunteers record their findings on Survey Software which is pre-populated with criteria to be examined and reported upon.
The output from Custody Visiting is presented twice per year to the Strategic Priorities Assurance Board (previously the Strategic Governance Board) and annually as part of the OPCC Annual Report.
To find out more about the scheme click on the following titles to open the documents:
Person Specification (ICV and Custody Record Reviewing Scheme)
Role Description (Independent Custody Visiting/ Custody Record Reveiwing)
A copy of the application form is available here.
Application Form Guidelines can be found here
Code of Practice for the Independent Custody Visiting Scheme - produced by the Home Office in consultation with the Independent Custody Visiting Association.
The leaflet we use to promote our scheme, including information on our Custody Record Reviewing Scheme is available here.
In order to ensure that potential ICVs are sufficiently aware of the relevant requirements of the law in respect of the care and custody of detainees, and to enable them to carry out their function in an efficient and credible manner, it is a pre-requisite of their authorisation that they attend an Initial Training Day arranged by the OPCC.
Initial Training Day
Training will cover the basic knowledge and skills required to carry out visits effectively. Students will receive a detailed manual of guidance to support their training, which will include:
- The purpose of and background to independent custody visiting
- The relevant aspects of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and of its associated Code C covering Detention, Treatment and Questioning
- Current Home Office statutory requirements
- Local guidance, conditions of service and working practices
- The basic practicalities of conducting independent custody visits
- Communication skills to assist effective contact with detainees and custody staff
- Equal opportunities and race awareness issues
- Health and Safety issues
- Data protection considerations
- The Police complaints system
Following successful completion of the Initial Training Day, ICVs will be appointed for a six month probationary period during which time experience will be acquired in a supportive environment. Only once the probationary period has been successfully completed will full accreditation be granted.
The first visit will be made with a nominated ICV mentor and during the remainder of the probationary period visits will be made in tandem with experienced colleagues. Immediately before the end of the six month probationary period the probationer ICV will visit again with the nominated ICV mentor so that performance can be assessed.
On completion of their probationary period, newly accredited ICVs will also have the opportunity to comment upon their experineces, and to give their views on the operation of the scheme in general through an interview with the scheme manager.
The OPCC will produce an annual training programme for ICV's and ICV must attend at least one session per year to refresh and enhance their general skills and knowledge. There may also be specific issues to address in relation to changing legal, procedural and Health and Safety requirements, developing best practice or practical issues emerging from the visiting process.
The ICV training and development programme provides a mixture of HQ, Regional and National training events:
Bitesize/Refresher Training - these sessions will take place during the day at Police HQ, Ripley and can be held at different times of the year to meet requirements.
Regional Advanced Training - Training for ICVs from across the region will normally take place on a Saturday in May.
National Conference – The National Conference is organised by the Independent Custody Visiting Association and normally takes place on a Saturday in November.
Between two and four volunteers can attend this event, one or two from the North Area and one or two from the South Area, upon return from the event both volunteers will be asked to write a short report on the content of the conference to feedback to the remaining volunteers, this way any learning can be shared across the whole scheme. .
Team Meetings – An informal training/meeting session for exchanging views, sharing best practice, discussing local issues, concerns, successes and difficulties and to build up ICV knowledge and identify any future training needs. Team meetings will normally be held in the afternoon following a morning training session.