Would you like to make sure those in police custody are safe and well treated, and to see how the custody suite really works?
Bedfordshire’s Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) is looking at 2017 as the year of new challenges and is looking to recruit volunteers to be a part of the Independent Custody Visiting (ICV) Scheme.
PCC Holloway said: “Our ICVs play an absolutely critical role in ensuring that those who find themselves in police cells are well treated by Bedfordshire Police’s staff. This is a vital check and balance to create confidence in the force’s custody arrangements in the wider community.”
The ICV programme is a required scheme which comes under the Police and Reform Act 2002, Bedfordshire’s Police & Crime Commissioner - Kathryn Holloway and her office are currently recruiting ten positions to bolster the dedicated team of volunteers.
Commissioner Holloway continued: “The volunteer custody visitors have achieved significant changes nationally including influencing staff levels to ensure that custody is safe; ensuring proper healthcare is available together with access to blankets, water and toilet rolls as giving the community assurance that there is proper treatment of detainees, including those held in relation to terrorism, to increase overall confidence in the police.”
New ICVs will join the team of 30 volunteers and be responsible for making impromptu visits to the three Bedfordshire Police custody facilities in Kempston, Luton and Dunstable. The volunteers will visit each custody suite, in pairs, both in the day and the evenings on various days throughout the week. Once on site they will carry out a report regarding the treatment of detainees and will carry out checks on their welfare, at a time when they may feel vulnerable and confused as well as looking out for issues around cleanliness and maintenance of the custody suites.
Each volunteer is expected to make a minimum of four visits to the custody suites yearly, write a report for each visit they make, and attend quarterly ICV panel meetings to discuss the key issues from their findings.
This scheme was seen recently when five ICVs were brought in as the first people to visit the Luton Custody facilities following a £0.5 million refurbishment.
Applications for Independent Custody Visitors are open until Tuesday 28 February and can be completed online. Applicants must be aged 18 years or over, reside in Bedfordshire and be a resident in the UK for at least three years prior to the date of application. No specific qualifications are required as full training and support is provided, however Visitors should be good listeners, non-judgmental and unbiased.
Click here for applications and more information on the Independent Custody Visitors Scheme.
The custody suites of Bedfordshire Police are often featured in the award winning Channel 4 series – 24 Hours in Police Custody – a landmark television documentary programme following the work of the force.
All completed applications and further enquiries regarding ICVs must be sent to Compliance Officer, Katie Beaumont using the email firstname.lastname@example.org