Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s Independent Custody Visiting Scheme has been recognised nationally for the excellent quality of its work.
Under this scheme, trained volunteers from the local community (Independent Custody Visitors or ICVs), managed by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner make regular unannounced visits to police custody suites to check on the rights, entitlements, wellbeing and dignity of the detainees held there. Their findings are reported to the Police and Crime Commissioner who holds the Chief Constable to account.
The Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) - the national membership organisation that supports, leads and represents these schemes - has developed a quality assurance framework to assess how well schemes comply with the code of practice that governs custody visiting.
This is the second year that schemes have been assessed under the framework and have been able to gain quality assurance awards to recognise the value of their work. The Cambridgeshire scheme was presented with a gold quality assurance award by ICVA on Wednesday 29 November, at a ceremony in Birmingham.
Welcoming the award, Darryl Preston, Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I am delighted that our Independent Custody Visiting Scheme has been assessed at such a high standard. Those who volunteer I know are passionate about ensuring police custody is a safe environment and have continued to work hard to suggest improvements when required.
“I would like to thank the volunteers and my colleague Shona McKenzie who manages the scheme within my office – this award is very much deserved.”
Dame Anne Owers, Chair of ICVA, said: "Independent custody visiting schemes ensure that the public have oversight of a high pressure and often hidden area of policing. These awards demonstrate how local schemes use volunteer feedback to make change and ensure that police custody is safe and dignified for all.”
Sherry Ralph, Chief Executive at ICVA said: “The quality assurance framework represents a significant amount of additional work to ensure that independent custody visiting is regularly reviewed, improvements are made where they are needed and excellent practice is shared. I congratulate schemes on their accomplishments and thank them for their commitment."