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Independent Custody Visitors

PCC Matthew Scott
Custody visiting allows members of the public to check on the welfare of people being detained in police custody.

What do Independent Custody Visitors do?

Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) make unannounced visits to custody suites around the county to check on the welfare of detained persons, ensure they have received their rights and make sure they are being held in conditions that are up to standard.

Volunteers in Kent visit the following stations:
  • Ebbsfleet (North Kent)
  • Medway
  • Bluewater
  • Maidstone
  • Tonbridge
  • Margate
  • Folkestone
  • Canterbury
  • Longport
Each visit to a police station cell is undertaken by two volunteers who then submit a report to the Police and Crime Commissioner. However the information is monitored regularly by the PCC's staff and Kent Police to ensure any important issues are dealt with swiftly.

ICVs are expected to visit custody suites, unannounced, to check on detainees’ welfare and report back to the PCC. This can be as often as once a month. In addition, ICVs attend training sessions, between two and four panel meetings a year, and an Annual General Meeting. The time commitment required is around three to five hours a month and all ICVs are asked to carry out at least one night-time visit a year (between 10pm and 6am).

What do Independent Custody Visitors get in return?

Although the role is voluntary, ICVs do receive travelling expenses (mileage/parking) when undertaking visits. The OPCC ensures that ICVs receive feedback and updates on the issues they have reported, and issue we publish quarterly and annual reports. ICVs also receive membership of the Kent Police Recreation Association, paid for by the OPCC, for the duration of their appointment. ICVs are offered places on various training sessions and conferences relevant to the role, and may take part in other voluntary schemes led by the OPCC such as ride-alongs with Kent Police officers as part of the monitoring Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme.

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