What skills and experience do visitors need?
Custody visitors do not need any specific experience or qualifications.
Visitors are members of the public and must maintain their impartiality. They do not take sides but look, listen and report accurately on what they find in the custody centres. The detainees will be identified by their custody numbers only and strict rules of confidentiality apply.
The Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) is a major reference for custody visiting. Diversity and human rights legislation is also fundamental to visiting. An introductory visit to a custody centre and induction training is provided. Visitors learn in the role during a probationary period (around six months). All visits are conducted with another custody visitor. Further training is provided via online courses and meetings (four a year) which visitors must attend as part of the role. These may be during the week, evening, or weekend.