Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
01234 842064
 

Independent Custody Visitors

The Police and Crime Commissioner has a statutory duty to maintain an Independent Custody Visiting Scheme for Bedfordshire.  Independent custody visiting is a well established system whereby volunteers attend police stations to check on the treatment of detainees, the conditions in which they are held and that their rights and entitlements are being observed. The scheme offers protection and confidentiality to detainees and the police and provides reassurance to the community at large.
 

What is Independent Custody Visiting?

Under the Police Reform Act 2002, as amended by the Police Reform & Social Responsibility Act 2011, the Local Policing Body has a statutory duty to establish and maintain an Independent Custody Visiting Scheme, which involves volunteer members of the public visiting police stations to check and report on the treatment of detainees, the conditions in which they are held and that their rights and entitlements are being observed. The scheme offers protection and confidentiality to detainees, the police and provides reassurance to the wider community.

Day-to-day management of the Scheme is undertaken by a Scheme Administrator within the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office.
 

What is the purpose of Independent Custody Visiting?

The purpose of Independent Custody Visiting is to provide assurance that detainees in Bedfordshire Police Custody are:
1. Treated fairly and in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and associated codes of practice

2. That the conditions detainees are kept in are clean and safe and any matters of concern are recorded and dealt with effectively;

3. That the rights and entitlements of detainees in Bedfordshire Police Custody are observed and adhered to.
 

What is the role of an Independent Custody Visitor?

Independent Custody Visitors are members of the local community who, working in pairs, call at Police Stations unannounced at any time. With agreement, the visitors can speak to detainees about their treatment or conditions, and take up any issues of concern with custody staff. A short report of their findings is made prior to leaving the station. Their work provides the PCC (and in turn the local community) with assurance that anyone arrested by the police and held in custody is treated fairly and has access to appropriate facilities.

For more information on the requirements of the role, please refer to our leaflet promoting the scheme or review the Custody Visitor Role Profile at the bottom of this page.
 

Who can become an Independent Custody Visitor?

Independent Custody Visitors come from all sections of the community. They must be aged over 18, 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.
 

Appointing Independent Custody Visitors

Independent Custody Visitors must be independent and impartial and, when making appointments, care is taken to avoid any potential conflict of interest. Serving police officers and other serving members of Police or PCC staff are unsuitable for this reason. The same applies to Special Constables, Justices of the Peace (JPs), Police and Crime Panel members and others connected with the criminal justice system.

After an initial probationary period of six months, Independent Custody Visitors are appointed for up to a further three years (as a review of all appointments to the Scheme is undertaken once every three years).
 
 

How to apply to become an Independent Custody Visitor

If you would like more information about becoming an Independent Custody Visitor in Bedfordshire, or for general information regarding the Scheme, please contact:

Katie Beaumont
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire
Bedfordshire Police Headquarters
Woburn Road
Kempston
Bedford    
MK43 9AX

Tel:   01234 842066
 katie.beaumont@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk

Downloads:

 Application Form

 Information Leaflet

Documents:
 Annual Report of Bedfordshire Independent Custody Visiting Scheme 2015-16

 Annual Report of Bedfordshire Independent Custody Visiting Scheme 2014-15

 Annual Report of Bedfordshire Independent Custody Visiting Scheme 2013-14

 Annual Report of Bedfordshire Independent Custody Visiting Scheme 2012-13

 Home Office Code of Practice for Independent Custody Visiting April 2013
 
 

The Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA)

The Independent Custody Visiting Association is a voluntary organisation that promotes the Independent Custody Visiting process nationally through advocacy, training, publicity and ongoing support to all involved in the process. The Association can be visited at www.icva.org.uk.