Kent’s Independent Custody Visitors Scheme has been recognised nationally for the high quality of its work.
Under this scheme, trained volunteers from the local community (Independent Custody Visitors or ICVs), managed by the Office of the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, make regular unannounced visits to police custody suites to check on the rights, entitlements, wellbeing and dignity of the detainees held there. Their findings are reported to the PCC who then holds the Chief Constables to account.
The Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) - the national membership organisation that supports, leads and represents these schemes - has developed a quality assurance framework to assess how well schemes comply with the code of practice that governs custody visiting.
This is the second year that schemes have been assessed under the framework and have been able to gain quality assurance awards to recognise the value of their work. Kent’s scheme has been presented with a silver quality assurance award.
Welcoming the award, Matthew Scott, Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, said: “Independent Custody Visitors are a vital part of the work we do. These volunteers carry out spot checks on all our custody suits, to make sure detainees are being treated appropriately and with respect. I’m delighted their hard work has been recognised by this award and I would like to thank them for their efforts.”
Dame Anne Owers, Chair of ICVA, said: "Independent custody visiting schemes ensure that the public have oversight of a high pressure and often hidden area of policing. These awards demonstrate how local schemes use volunteer feedback to make change and ensure that police custody is safe and dignified for all.”
Sherry Ralph, Chief Executive at ICVA said: “The quality assurance framework represents a significant amount of additional work to ensure that independent custody visiting is regularly reviewed, improvements are made where they are needed and excellent practice is shared. I congratulate schemes on their accomplishments and thank them for their commitment."