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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.

Reprisals Policy

The Cleveland Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) has a responsibility to ensure that detainees are able to speak to independent custody visitors openly and without fear of reprisals from the force as part of its responsibility under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT). OPCAT is an international human rights treaty designed to strengthen the protection of people deprived of their liberty. Click here to read our reprisals policy.


Independent Custody Visiting Annual Reports

Cleveland Independent Custody Visiting Annual Report 2017-18 (PDF, 523KB)
Cleveland Independent Custody Visitor Scheme Annual Report 2018-19 (PDF, 979KB)


ICV Scheme Manager update to PCC – Quarterly Updates

ICV Q1 update to PCC

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

We are not currently recruiting for Independent Custody Visitors. However, if you would like to express an interest in volunteering for the scheme, please contact the Commissioner's Standards and Scrutiny Manager Elise Pout on elise.pout@cleveland.pnn.police.uk or 01642 301263.

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