Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach today praised the county’s custody volunteers following an “exceptional” year of independent scrutiny.
Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) pay unannounced weekly visits to the force’s main custody centres at Beaumont Leys, Keyham Lane and Euston Street to monitor the standard of facilities and the wellbeing of the detainees.
The volunteers, who work in pairs, carried out 152 visits during 2017-18 compared to 145 visits the previous year.
To ensure inspections remain unpredictable and irregular, the visits take place across 35 timeslots in any 24-hour period.
Latest figures show ICVs achieved 100% coverage of the designated timeslots for both Beaumont Leys and Keyham Lane in 2017-18 while 97% coverage of timeslots was delivered at Euston Street – the service’s best performance to date.
The PCC said: “Our ICVs not only help safeguard the rights and welfare of detainees but also ensure our custody processes remain transparent and accountable to the public.
“These volunteers have been extremely busy during the past 12 months and have carried out unannounced inspections at all hours of the day and night to ensure the authenticity of their findings. Their constructive feedback has been instrumental to improving our facilities and ensuring our detainees are treated as fairly as possible while also guiding future development plans.
“I’m grateful to all our ICVs for giving up their time to help us deliver better standards of service and would like to thank them for their personal contribution in what is an essential area of my work as Commissioner.”
Leicestershire is a lead force in national improvements to the custody visiting scheme and Lord Bach currently sits on the Independent Custody Visiting Association’s Board of Directors.
The county is in the process of implementing an ICV Custody App for use on a tablet device at custody suites to electronically record custody visits and improve efficiency.
Of the 152 custody visits made during 2017/18, 50 were made at Beaumont Leys, 49 at Keyham Lane and 53 at Euston Street. The total number of detainees in custody at the time of custody visits was 1,092 and of these 480 (44%) were offered a visit from an ICV. The remaining detainees were not available to be visited, refused to be seen or were not visited upon the advice of custody staff due to intoxication/aggressive behaviour.
There are currently 27 ICVs in Leicestershire and a recruitment campaign is being planned for September to appoint 10 further ICVs to provide resilience and increase the diversity of the team.
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Posted on Wednesday 23rd May 2018