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Independent Custody Visiting Scheme

charge-deskWhat is an Independent Custody Visting Scheme?

Police & Crime Commissioners are required to operate an Independent Custody Visiting (ICV) Scheme. The Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 made it a statutory requirement for Police Authorities to operate an Independent Custody Visiting Scheme and a formal written scheme was adopted within the national guidelines. This scheme has transferred from the Police Authority to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner from 22nd November 2012.

Who are Independent Custody Visitors?

cellIndependent Custody Visitors are members of the local community who visit police stations unannounced to check on the welfare of people in police custody. ICVs come from a variety of backgrounds and sections of the community. 

They must be over 18 and have no direct involvement in the criminal justice system, for example, serving police officers or special constables. Other people such as solicitors or probation officers may be excluded, to prevent possible conflict of interests for the individual. This maintains the independence of the scheme as a whole. 



What do Independent Custody Visitors do?

Visits are paired with another ICV, random and unannounced and usually conducted once per week. Visits will normally be contained to police stations with the local area of the ICV. ICVs must treat the details of what they see and hear on their visits confidential. ICVs will work in a voluntary capacity and mileage/public transport costs can be claimed at an agreed rate. 

A report is completed after each visit which provides an insight into the running of the custody area at that time. Data from these reports is analysed and the areas for action are highlighted. This information is shared with the police, Police and Crime Commissioner and the Home Office.

For successful applicants, a one day practical and theoretical training session will be held covering all aspects of custody visiting together with the basic principles of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE). Refresher training will be provided at intervals or upon changes in legislation.

Custody Demand Performance Tables

To demonstrate to the public that the police are delivering services to communities on a fair and transparent basis, the Police and Crime Commissioner will publish custody demand performance statistics on a regular basis.  To view data, click here to access the Custody Demand Performance webpage..


Further Information

Becoming an Independent Custody Visitor (Adobe Acrobat PDF, 549KB) (updated 10/04/2017)
Cleveland PCC Independent Custody Scheme (Adobe Acrobat PDF, 597 KB) (last updated 17/02/2017)


Vacancies for Independent Custody Visitors

Vacancy – Independent Custody Visitors

Do you have what it takes to check prisoner welfare, custody conditions and police behaviour?

Barry Coppinger, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, has responsibility for a team of Independent Custody Visitors, a team of volunteers who make unannounced visits to police stations at Middlehaven and Hartlepool.

You will speak with people detained in custody, check their welfare and the conditions in which they are being held and submit reports on their visits.  You will work in pairs and will carry out a minimum of six visits per year. 

Key criteria

  • must be over 18.
  • must not be justices of the peace, serving police officers or civilian employees, appropriate adults; members or staff from police and crime commissioners or special constables.
  • may have their applications appraised if there appears to be a conflict of interest for people working in other areas of the criminal justice system, such as solicitors and members of the probation service.
  • always work as volunteers and only receive out of pocket expenses incurred while carrying out their roles.
  • must have a good understanding of the English language - or Welsh, where appropriate - as all ICVA guidelines, reporting and recording procedures are available in either English or Welsh.

Having a criminal record or unspent convictions is not an automatic barrier to becoming a custody visitor. Individual circumstances will be assessed against the needs of the post and suitability of the applicant. All appropriate applications from members of the public are considered on their own merits.

Suitable applicants are invited to attend an interview based on the submission of an application form to the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Independent Custody Visitor Application Form (MS Word, 228KB)

Please email completed forms to Elise.Pout@Cleveland.pnn.police.uk - recruitment for ICVs is taking place on a rolling basis, to allow for maximum applications to be received. The OPCC has the right to close applications at any time, but will give a reasonable period of notice.

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