Have you got what it takes to maintain standards in police custody?

05/12/2018

Residents in Eastbourne and the surrounding area are being encouraged to join a scheme that involves volunteers checking on the welfare of those detained in police custody, and ensuring that their human rights are being upheld.

Up to 45 dedicated volunteers support the Independent Custody Visiting Scheme. Representatives are recruited and appointed on a geographical basis to make unannounced visits to police custody centres in Sussex and check on the treatment and welfare of detainees.

Volunteers join a panel of people available to visit the custody centre in the area concerned. Each area has a local panel coordinator who provides support to volunteers in conjunction with the local custody inspector. Panel meetings are held twice a year to discuss issues arising from their visits. Relevant information is then communicated to Sussex Police at a local and Force level as well as to the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, who oversees the scheme.

Some Independent Custody Visitors also view public-place CCTV cameras managed by the police. Through this oversight, volunteers ensure that the operation of the system is carried out in accordance with relevant legislation and codes of practice.

Volunteers come from a range of backgrounds, ages and experience but what is common to all is the satisfaction gained from giving a few hours a month of their time to their local community.
Sarah Friend, ICV Scheme Manager, Office of the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, said:

"Our ICV volunteers play a vital role in our communities, helping to reassure the public that custody conditions are reasonable and that there is independent oversight of detainees’ welfare.

“They receive appropriate training and visit police custody centres at all times of day and night to ensure that detainees’ rights are being observed and that the conditions that they are being held in meet nationally agreed standards.

“It is crucial that our ICVs represent, as far as possible, the people of Sussex, which is why I would encourage anyone who can spare some time each month to consider applying for this exciting volunteer position.”

To find out more about becoming an IVC and to apply online visit: https://www.sussex-pcc.gov.uk/get-involved.

Notes for editors

The Independent Custody Visiting (ICV) Scheme is one of the statutory responsibilities of the Office of the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, which provides independent oversight of police custody to the public.

For further information or interviews please contact Sammi Carwardine. Tel: 01273 335263 or Email: sammi.carwardine@sussex-pcc.gov.uk.

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