On 16 March 2020, the PM made an announcement advising people to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel. Following this announcement, the Police and Crime Commissioner, in consultation with the COVID Gold Group, made the decision to cease visits to Police Custody.
Derbyshire already had in place a system of Custody Record Reviewing and it was agreed that the number of records reviewed be increased, ensuring effective oversight during the cessation of visiting. Currently, staff within the OPCC are conducting the record reviews, but innovative ways of being able to securely share Custody Records with our ICVs are being explored and it is hoped that our volunteers will resume this duty in the near future.
The ceasing of physical visits to custody encouraged the OPCC to consider alternative methods of visiting Police Custody and a new (but temporary) system of Video Visiting has been introduced in Derbyshire. Video Visiting the Custody Suites is the system currently in place, however, this is constantly reviewed and it is hoped that physical visiting will re-commence when the threat of the virus has lessened.
Throughout the pandemic, the OPCC has remained in close contact with the volunteers and we have continued to deliver training and conduct team meetings successfully via a virtual platform.
If you are applying for the role of Custody Volunteer, please note that the scheme may be operating differently to that laid out in the job description. Be assured though that the way we operate and steer our scheme through the pandemic is constantly reviewed and as soon as ‘normal’ service can be resumed we will do so.
Please note that any activities undertaken by ICVs during the Covid-19 pandemic are a choice made by the ICV based on personal risk appetite. When physical visits resume, alternative ways of being involved in the scheme can be arranged for those not comfortable visiting during the pandemic.