The inaugural Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA*) Quality Assurance awards were presented at a ceremony at the House of Lords on Wednesday 15 May.
ICVA is the national organisation which supports, leads and represents locally-run custody visiting schemes. Schemes manage teams of independent volunteers who visit those detained in police custody.
Volunteers make unannounced visits to police custody to check on the rights, entitlements, well-being and dignity of detainees held in police custody, reporting their findings to Police and Crime Commissioners and Police Authorities who in turn hold Chief Constables to account.
The Quality Assurance awards were introduced by ICVA to help schemes:
· Reflect on how they comply with the Code of Practice, the legislation that underpins custody visiting.
· Celebrate areas of strength.
· Promote custody visiting and the achievements schemes have made.
· Drive performance and increase sharing of good practice.
Within each level, there were more than 25 set of criteria covering key areas such as holding the force to account, and requiring evidence to support each assessment.
The scheme in Devon and Cornwall has received code compliant status meaning it has achieved a good status of recruitment and training, managing its volunteers, transparency and looking after detainee welfare.
Welcoming the award, Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez said: “This is fantastic news, our ICVs do a fantastic job and deserve to be recognised.
“They are my eyes and ears in custody making sure those who enter police care are treated fairly and respectfully.”
Katie Kempen, Chief Executive at 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. I congratulate schemes on their accomplishments."
Watch the video above to see a typical day in the life of an ICV.