Dedicated volunteers who have given their time freely to maintain standards of police custody and protect the welfare of detainees have been honoured with long service certificates by the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews hosted a special celebration event at Police Headquarters (14 December 2022) to mark the achievements of members of his Independent Custody Visiting (ICV) scheme.
Independent custody visitors undertake unannounced visits to Leicester Police’s three custody suites at Beaumont Leys, Euston Street and Keyham Lane in pairs to report on cell conditions and the welfare of people held in police custody.
The scheme is a critical part of the Commissioner’s work to deliver accountability to the public and maintain the integrity and transparency of the force’s custody provision.
Volunteers receive special certificates at six, 12,18- and 24-years’ service with the scheme in recognition of their time and effort.
Among those receiving awards at the event was Rosemary Hall OBE and Steve Nash who have been volunteering with the scheme since 1998 and received certificates for 24 years of service.
Rosemary Hall said: “The role has changed since I first started visiting. I still find the role interesting as you never know what might happen and what the visit will be like – there are so many different scenarios.
“I consider this volunteering in this way is beneficial to both the Police and the detainees as we are independent and impartial. Our reports are objective and can quickly highlight any matters arriving”.
Steve Nash added: “Back in the late 1990s I felt it was important to volunteer and the ICV scheme met that need. Originally the term was limited to three years but the rules changed and I was able to continue on a renewable basis. Originally I was visiting the Charles Street Police Station and then eventually moved to the purpose built Euston Street suite.
Further certificates were presented to Margaret Potter, Paul Eadie, Nurcan Nas and Rosemary Hall OBE to commemorate their service to the Commissioner’s Animal Welfare Scheme (AWS) – a similar system established to check on the welfare of the force’s police dogs.
Twelve ICV volunteers have been serving with the scheme for more than three years while 10 volunteers have been with the programme for more than seven years.
The ICVs have contributed an impressive 364 hours of their time volunteering for the OPCC in the 12 months from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.
Congratulating the volunteers, Mr Matthews said: “I am enormously proud of the commitment and effort of all our independent custody visitors whose vital work helps Leicestershire Police maintain the highest standards of welfare for all detainees.
“It’s so important we build trust and confidence in policing to enable police to do their jobs more effectively and receive support from the public. Our ICVs come from all walks of life and backgrounds and their recommendations have improved standards in so many ways. They really deserve this recognition and I warmly congratulate every volunteer who has received a long service award.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of our communities and nowhere is this more important than in policing where local people can effect positive change. I hope our volunteers continue to find this role a rewarding experience for many more years to come.”
The Commissioner’s ICV scheme has recently retained its Investing in Volunteers Award for the fourth time and has also been granted a Gold Award for Quality Assurance from the Independent Custody Visiting Association – the national body set up to oversee this important service.
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Posted on Wednesday 21st December 2022