Can you take on the role of an independent custody visitor?

Police and Crime Commissioner Daryl Preston.

Police and Crime Commissioner Daryl Preston. - Credit: POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER

Police and Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston is urging people to help maintain policing standards by volunteering to become Independent Custody Visitors (ICV).

Mr Preston is looking to recruit volunteers to be part of a scheme which involves members of the public making e unannounced visits to police stations to check on the rights, wellbeing and treatment of people being held in police custody.

The ICV scheme is integral to the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan commitment to ensuring the highest possible standards within policing.

Detainees in custody can sometimes be vulnerable people and these independent, unannounced inspections are key to making sure they are treated fairly, explained Mr Preston. 

“Volunteering as an ICV is a fantastic opportunity, providing a unique insight into the police service and promoting the highest possible standards. It is vital that those volunteering truly reflect the rich diversity of our county, therefore the opportunity is open to anyone who is 18 years or older and has been a UK resident for three years," he said

The programme was established following the Scarman Report into the Brixton riots in 1981 and is now a statutory responsibility for police and crime commissioners to operate in their respective areas across the country.

ICVs visit custody suites in pairs and speak directly to detainees to find out how they have been treated. They also speak to custody staff and look at the physical condition of the custody suites.

Independent Custody Visitors usually carry out one or two visits a month. Most visits last between one and two hours, plus travel time.

The findings from these visits are then shared with the Police and Crime Commissioner who uses them to hold the police to account.

To be a good ICV you need strong ethical principles and be able to maintain confidentiality.

The scheme welcomes applications from people across a range of background, ages and experience.

Anyone interested in joining is encouraged to fill out an application form on the Commissioner’s website.

Find out more about the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner online at: