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17th Dec 19
Northamptonshire’s Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) came together at an event last week to be thanked by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for contributing over 500 hours of their time to his Custody Visiting scheme in the last 12 months.
ICVs are volunteers from the local community who provide an independent and impartial oversight in police custody. They help maintain the highest standards in the treatment of people detained in the Criminal Justice Centre in Northampton and the Weekley Woods Justice Centre in Kettering.
They visit the Custody Centres every week to check on the welfare of detainees; ensuring they are being fairly and properly treated, and that the conditions they are being held in are satisfactory.
In the last 12 months, ICVs have spent time speaking to 341 detainees in custody, looking at custody records, liaising with custody staff, training and attending meetings to share experiences and feedback.
ICVs raise any issues they come across with Custody staff, to be dealt with at the time of their visit. Any more serious issues are escalated to the PFCC. Examples of where ICVs have effected change in the last year include resolving issues with intercoms in cells and improving health and safety in the food preparation area.
Catherine Broughton, who has been an ICV in Northampton for nine years said: “Generally we feel that custody in Northamptonshire runs smoothly and efficiently. It is a rewarding role to know that we are ensuring people are receiving their rights and entitlements at a time of great vulnerability.”
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold has a statutory duty to provide the ICV service. He said: “It is important that communities have confidence in their police service, and ICVs help to provide community oversight in custody and transparency in an area of policing that isn’t usually on public view.”