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Changes to Custody Visiting in line with Government guidance on Covid-19

Last month, in line with Government guidance on Covid-19, all custody visiting in Norfolk was suspended. As an interim measure the Head of Custody for Norfolk Constabulary will be reporting to the PCC on a fortnightly basis to update on how they are functioning at this challenging time, with a particular focus on detainee welfare.

Many of our custody visitors are at home self-isolating and the PCC’s thoughts are with them. We highly value the work of our volunteers and are developing additional monitoring procedures to allow our ICVs to continue, while staying at home, the voluntary work they do so well.

Your PCC has a statutory responsibility to establish and manage an Independent Custody Visiting Scheme.

Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) are members of the local community who volunteer to visit Norfolk’s Police Investigation Centres (PICs), unannounced and in pairs, to check the treatment and welfare of detainees and deliver effective oversight to ensure a safe environment while providing public reassurance.

They play a valuable role in maintaining public confidence in this important area of policing.

There is a panel of visitors allocated to each of the four Norfolk PICs (Aylsham, Great Yarmouth, Kings Lynn and Wymondham) who make visits on a weekly basis to make sure that detainees are treated fairly and with respect.

A short report of their findings is made prior to leaving the PIC which provides assurance for the PCC that anyone arrested by the police and held in custody is treated fairly and has access to appropriate facilities.  Copies of the reports are provided for the police and the ICVs’ local panel for discussion and follow-up.

Each year, an annual report is published for the local community to inform and reassure them about how people are treated whilst in police custody.

 

  • What is the role of an Independent Custody Visitor?

    An Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) does not need to know why a person is being detained in custody, and they do not talk to those held about their arrest or follow up on what happens subsequently.  The role is purely objective and ensures that the detainees’ legal rights have been offered and explained.

    Strict rules of confidentiality apply.  Detainees are identified only by their custody numbers and the details of what visitors see and hear must also be treated as confidential.

    It is equally important that ICVs maintain their independence and impartiality and do not become involved or take sides.  They are there to look, listen and report on conditions in the custody facility.

    For more information about Independent Custody Visiting, please contact the OPCCN by email to opccn@norfolk.pnn.police.uk

  • Recruitment and eligibility

    The PCC is responsible for recruiting, selecting and appointing all custody visitors and seeks to be representative of our communities, including taking account of different ethnic origins, gender and age ranges.

    ICVs are unpaid, but receive allowances to cover travelling expenses.  They must be over 18 years of age, reside or work in Norfolk and have no direct involvement in the criminal justice system – this is to prevent possible conflicts of interests for the individual and maintains the independence of the Scheme.

    Appointment as an ICV is subject to a successful application and interview process.  Any appointment is subject to vetting and volunteers are required to sign up to our  Memorandum of Understanding.

    Applications to become an ICV are considered at any time and further information, and an application form can be found in the documents below:

  • Training

    Successful applicants will need to attend an initial training course to prepare them for the role, and complete a six-month probationary period in order to be fully accredited.

  • Independent Custody Visiting Association

    The PCC is a member of the Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA), a voluntary organisation that promotes the Independent Custody Visiting process nationally.  ICVA provides advice, training, publicity and ongoing support to all involved in the process.

    More information is available on the ICVA website.

Custody Visiting News

05
JUN
2019

Volunteer who spent 15 years behind bars encourages others to follow in his footsteps

Unless you have spent time in police custody, you probably won’t have heard of custody visiting - a role from which Eric Langford is retiring after 15 years.
16
MAY
2019

Norfolk PCC office wins prestigious national award for custody visiting

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk has won a prestigious national award for the quality of its independent custody visiting scheme.
18
DEC
2018

PCC thanks Norfolk volunteer for 20 years service

The dedication and commitment of one of Norfolk's Independent Custody Visitors - Rick Parry - has this week been recognised by the county’s PCC, Lorne Green.
12