Volunteers responsible for improving standards of custody welfare across Leicestershire are celebrating the achievement of a national quality award.
The county’s Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) scheme, run by Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach, has earned a coveted gold in the Quality Assurance awards, recognising excellence in volunteer management and visiting standards.
The award, issued by the Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA), was presented at a glittering ceremony at the House of Lords on Wednesday 15 May.
Leicestershire’s ICV scheme met a series of strict criteria to scoop the “gold” award which is the second highest accolade available in the assessment programme.
Commenting on the success, Willy Bach said: “This is an exceptional achievement and well-deserved by our custody volunteers.
“Late last year, the scheme received its third Investing in Volunteers award – another feather in the bow for what is a very hardworking and committed team. This latest success cements our place as one of the top-performing schemes in the country and I’m very grateful to all those who give their time and patience to protect the integrity and standards of our custody facilities.
“We are only as good as our people and I’m well aware that without the selflessness of our volunteers, this service would not be possible. They deserve the highest praise for this achievement.”
ICVs make unannounced visits to the three main custody facilities in Leicestershire - Beaumont Leas, Euston Street and Keyham Lane - to check on the rights, entitlements, well-being and dignity of detainees held in police custody. Their reports enable PCCs to make improvements and recommendations to ensure custody provision complies with national requirements.
During 2018-19, 156 visits were carried out, which represents the best performance to date with no missed visits during the year.
Leicestershire’s scheme, which currently has 29 volunteers, was accredited with the Investing in Volunteers (IiV) award by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) in October 2012, being one of only three schemes nationally to receive the award at that time. This award was re-accredited in October 2015 and again for a third time in October 2018. It remains the only scheme in the region to hold the award.
ICVA is the national organisation which supports, leads and represents locally-run custody visiting schemes, introduced the Quality Assurance awards to provide a performance framework for schemes to aspire towards.
There are four graded levels of award: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Code Compliant.
Martyn Underhill, Chairman of ICVA, said: “These awards recognise the standard of scheme being run in the area, and help drive up the standards of our schemes across the UK. Warm congratulations to all of the winners.”
Katie Kempen, Chief Executive at ICVA said: "Independent custody visiting schemes ensure that the public have oversight of a high pressure and often hidden area of policing. These awards demonstrate how local schemes use volunteer feedback to make change and ensure that police custody is safe and dignified for all. I congratulate schemes on their accomplishments."
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Posted on Thursday 16th May 2019