Independent custody visiting to police custody suites owes its origins to Lord Scarman, whose report on the Brixton riots in 1981 recommended a system of independent, unannounced inspection of procedures and detention in police stations by local community members.
Today, Independent Custody Visitors (ICV’s) offer an extra level of protection to detained persons by providing independent scrutiny of their treatment and the conditions in which they are held. By giving approved members of the local community an opportunity to observe, comment and report on these matters, the OPCC hopes to reassure the community, improve citizens' understanding of procedures at police stations and strengthen their confidence that these are being properly applied.
The Police and Crime Commissioner has overall responsibility for overseeing the maintenance and operation of an effective Independent Custody Visiting Scheme for Wiltshire.
Subject to some exceptions, any person aged eighteen or over who has had permanent residence within the UK for at least two years and who resides or is working within Wiltshire may apply to become an ICV.
If you are interested in the treatment of people during their interactions with police whilst in custody and committed to giving an objective and constructive review of police work, then you would enjoy this opportunity.
We are particularly keen to recruit younger members and those from diverse backgrounds. Every visit helps us understand how policing affects individuals and communities and helps ensure that the treatment of individuals in custody meets the required standards.
ICV’s are given guidance and training to assist them in understanding the demands and requirements placed on officers in this testing area of policing. However, we do not require experts in police practice.
The ‘feel’ of an interaction, the attitude of police and the equal treatment of people are also important, alongside knowledge of legislation, process and policy. The OPCC provides regular training for all ICV’s and can signpost to further learning material to any ICV that wishes to develop further understanding.
Wiltshire Police have 2 custody suites: one at Gablecross Police Station, Swindon, and the other at Melksham Police Station.
Each custody suite is scrutinised by a team of 6 ICV’s, who work in pairs when visiting. Each pair will be sent a rota identifying a range of dates, usually seven consecutive days, within which they should arrange to visit the station.
Their report is shared with the Scheme Manager and Coordinator, any issues or concerns are shared directly and immediately with custody staff to allow for a quick response.
You must commit to engage with the training package provided by the OPCC and undertake a period of probation.
Applicants must be independent persons of good character who are able to make informed judgements in which the community can have confidence and which the Police will accept as fair criticism when it is justified.
Individuals interested in applying to become an ICV will be sent an application pack comprising an application form, equal opportunities monitoring form, information on disqualifications, job description/person specification and the ICV Handbook. The pack will be provided to applicants via email unless a hard copy is specifically requested.
Promoting equality and diversity is a principal element of the work of the Office of the PCC (OPCC). As representatives of the PCC, ICVs are expected to carry out their role in accordance with these principals.
To begin the process of becoming an ICV please email your expression of interest to the following address: [email protected].