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What happens during a visit?

Visitors arrive unannounced in a pair at the police station. ICVs enter the custody centre where they will be escorted. Visitors decide which detainees to visit. The detainees will be identified by their custody numbers only and strict rules of confidentiality apply. ICVs must maintain their impartiality. They do not take sides but look, listen and report accurately on what they find using a structured checklist.

Visits are conducted with each detained person’s consent. Priority is given to visiting children and vulnerable people. The checks focus on if the detained person has been offered their rights, entitlements, and welfare and an appraisal of conditions of detention. Immediate areas of concern will be raised by visitors with the custody officer at the time of the visit and any necessary action taken.

A straightforward report is completed after each visit. Copies of the reports are given to the local custody inspector and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. Custody visit reports are an essential element of the Commissioner’s scrutiny of police custody management. Any areas for action are highlighted for further action.