“Conversations that make a difference” – Commissioner thanks volunteers who shine spotlight on custody

POLICE AND CRIME Commissioner Lisa Townsend has hailed the vital role of Independent Custody Visiting Volunteers after they gave 400 hours of their time over the last year to help improve the service provide by Surrey Police.

Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) are specially trained members of the public who make unannounced visits to the Force’s custody suites to check on the rights, wellbeing, and dignity of detainees.

During Volunteers’ Week, the Office of the Commissioner published the Custody Visiting Scheme’s latest Annual Report and wrote to volunteers to thank them for their continued contribution.  

In the year to March, they made 183 visits to Surrey Police custody suites and checked on the welfare of 389 detainees across the county.

In 2023, the Scheme was recognised nationally after it was awarded Platinum status for the impact it has on fair and transparent policing in Surrey.

During a visit, volunteers will typically check on the conditions of custody and speak to detainees to confirm that they have been informed of their rights and have been treated with respect. ICVs also check on things like the supply of food, blankets and access to feminine hygiene products, and can provide a further opportunity for individuals to speak about medical or other needs that they may not have raised with custody staff earlier.

The Commissioner said ICVs play a key role by shining a spotlight on the processes in custody and encouraged adults who are interested in policing and helping others to find out more about joining the scheme:

“I am incredibly proud of the work of our Independent Custody Visitors in Surrey.

“Our ICV Scheme provides essential scrutiny of an area of policing that is hidden from public view where officers and staff deal with some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“Together with custody staff, our volunteers are essential to ensuring that every person who is arrested receives care that is fair and appropriate to their needs.

“Custody Visiting is also a unique and immensely rewarding way to volunteer in policing, that makes a big difference by giving up just a few hours each month.”

Independent Custody Visitors must be over 18 and live or work in Surrey and able to commit to carry out one visit to custody a month. ICVs cannot be serving police officers or staff, or involved in the Criminal Justice Process.

Full training and expenses are provided.

Learn more about our Independent Custody Visiting Scheme here.

Share on: