PEOPLE in Cleveland have the chance to take an important role in helping the Police and Crime Commissioner to check on the welfare of people in custody.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Cleveland is looking for additional independent custody volunteers (ICVs.)
Independent and effective scrutiny, which holds police to account, is a highly important responsibility of the PCC.
As part of that scrutiny, ICVs visit Cleveland Police’s custody suites unannounced to check on the welfare and treatment of people detained there.
They check on the conditions in which detainees are being held. Visitors also make sure detainees’ rights and entitlements are being observed.
Volunteers make a minimum of six visits per year. Visiting in pairs, IVCs talk to detainees and submit reports about their visits. The role is flexible and rewarding.
Crucial Part in Scrutiny
Steve Turner, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, said: “The ICV Scheme plays a crucial part in delivering against one of my statutory duties.
“Volunteers do an invaluable job of holding a mirror up to what happens in police custody and making sure the rights of detainees are safeguarded.
“The information they provide feeds directly into the scrutiny work, which my team and I do when I hold the force to account on behalf of the public.”
Husband and wife Angela and Derek Whitaker have volunteered for a number of years.
Angela has volunteered as an ICV for the past 15 years – so when husband Derek retired from working on the region’s buses, she encouraged him to get involved too.
She said: “Derek was already driving me to the police station and we needed custody visitors so I said you might as well come in with me!”
Now the pair carry out custody visits together at Middlesbrough Police Station alongside their eight-year-old assistance dog Kelly.
Kelly even has her own ICV badge so staff can authorise her to visit Cleveland’s custody suites!
The OPCC considers all applications on their own merits. Staff are looking for applications from all sectors of the community. It assesses individual circumstances against the needs of the post and suitability of the applicant.
Prior to starting in role, the OPCC wlll ask suitable applicants to attend an interview.
To find out more about the role and how to apply, go to:
Independent Custody Visitors Scheme – Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner (pcc.police.uk)
Closing date for applications is 5 May 2023.