The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey has won a prestigious national award for the quality of its independent custody visiting scheme.
The inaugural Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) Quality Assurance awards were presented at a ceremony at the House of Lords on Wednesday 15 May.
ICVA is the national organisation which supports, leads and represents locally-run custody visiting schemes. Schemes manage teams of independent volunteers who visit those detained in police custody.
Volunteers make unannounced visits to police custody to check on the rights, entitlements, well-being and dignity of detainees held in police custody, reporting their findings to Police and Crime Commissioners and Police Authorities who in turn hold Chief Constables to account.
The Quality Assurance awards were introduced by ICVA to help schemes:
- Reflect on how they comply with the Code of Practice, the legislation that underpins custody visiting.
- Celebrate areas of strength.
- Promote custody visiting and the achievements schemes have made.
- Drive performance and increase sharing of good practice
There were four graded levels of award:
- Code Complaint – Scheme meets statutory requirements and necessary volunteer standards
- Silver – Scheme provides a good standard of custody visiting and volunteer management
- Gold – Scheme provides an excellent standard of custody visiting and volunteer management
- Platinum – Scheme provided an outstanding standard of custody visiting and volunteer management
Within each level, there were more than 25 set of criteria covering key areas such as holding the force to account, and requiring evidence to support each assessment. For Silver and Gold levels, schemes had to get their submissions peer assessed and ICVA assessed each submission for a Platinum award.
Welcoming the award, David Munro, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey said: “I am incredibly pleased that the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has been awarded gold in the ICVA Quality Assurance awards.
Both, Erika (Scheme Manager) and the volunteers themselves have worked exceptionally hard over the last twelve months to ensure both impartiality and that the welfare of those in custody has been met.
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.”
If you’re interested in becoming an ICV, the OPCC is currently seeking new recruits to work in the custody suite at Salfords Police Station, near Redhill.
You must be over the age of 18 and live, study or work within the Surrey policing borders and although the posts are voluntary and unpaid, travelling expenses are reimbursed.
For further information and to get involved with ICV’s in Surrey:
ICV Scheme Manager
Telephone: 01483 630200