Independent Custody Visitors visit police stations unannounced to check on the welfare of people in custody.
Visitors come from a wide range of backgrounds. They must be over 18 and have no direct involvement in the criminal justice system in order to maintain the scheme’s independence.
Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) must operate an Independent Custody Visiting (ICV) Scheme.
What custody visitors do
Visits take place at random and are unannounced. Visitors work in pairs. Usually, visits are weekly.
Normally, visits are restricted to police stations local to ICVs. ICVs must treat details of what they see and hear, as confidential. ICVs are volunteers but they can claim travel expenses.
Volunteers complete a report after each visit. The report gives an insight into how custody is running. We analyse information and highlight areas for action. Information is shared with the police, PCC and Home Office.
To help carry out their duties, ICV applicants undertake training into all aspects of custody visiting along with the basic principles of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE). We provide training at regular intervals and when there are changes in the law.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) must make sure detainees are able to speak to independent custody visitors openly and without fear of reprisal.
This is 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, which aims to help protect people deprived of their liberty.
Our Reprisals Policy is available to the public.
Independent Custody Visiting Annual Reports
Quarterly update to the PCC from the ICV Scheme Manager
To demonstrate the police are delivering services fairly and transparently, the PCC publishes regular custody demand performance statistics
The PCC has two publications with more information on Cleveland’s ICV Scheme: