Bedfordshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) welcomed a new Independent Custody Detention Scrutiny Panel (ICDSP) to the Beds Police Custody Suite for the first time.
The panel, made up of local people from across the policing area, represent local communities in conversations with police officers and staff actively involved in detention and custody environments.
The aim of the Panel is to independently assess and report on detention and custody processes such as challenging disproportionality in police custody, notably on grounds of race and/or protected characteristics.
Samantha Denness, Performance and Accountability Manager, OPCC said “The Panel carry out random checks and advise the Force on ways to improve performance and trust in policing within custody.
“The panel look to dispel myths surrounding the detention and custody environment by investigating matters such as disproportionality, use of strip searches and use of anti-rip clothing.
“Learning and feedback was identified even at this initial meeting and the hopes are that moving forward the panel will be able to add value in the scrutiny that they do for Bedfordshire Police”.
Kevin Harris, Inspector for Bedfordshire Police Custody said “I was delighted to be part of the inaugural meeting for the Independent Custody Detention Scrutiny Panel. Influenced by existing scrutiny panels both locally and nationally, this initiative marks a pivotal stride for Bedfordshire Police, signalling a firm commitment to transparency, accountability, and a collaborative approach in ensuring the highest standards within our custodial and detention processes.
“The panel will enable us to foster a culture of continuous improvement that is fundamental for the well-being, confidence, understanding and trust of both the community and our staff”.
The panel is in its pilot phase and as such is looking to recruit members of the public that would like to join. If you or a member of your family has had direct experience of custody and you would like to make a difference, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and put ICDSP in the subject header.
More information and application form here: