National recognition for quality of independent custody visiting scheme in North Wales
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) North Wales has been recognised nationally for the quality of its Independent Custody Visiting (ICV) scheme.
Under the programme, trained volunteers from the local community, managed by staff from the OPCC, make regular unannounced visits to custody suites to check on the rights, entitlements, wellbeing and dignity of the detainees held there.
The Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) – the national membership organisation that supports, leads and represents these schemes – has developed a quality assurance framework to assess how well schemes comply with the code of practice that governs custody visiting.
This is the second year that schemes have been assessed under the framework and have been able to gain quality assurance awards that recognise the value of their work.
Staff members of the OPCC were presented with a ‘code compliance’ quality assurance award by ICVA on Wednesday 29 November, at a ceremony in Birmingham.
During the April 2022 to March 2023 period, a total of 120 visits were made by Independent Custody Visitors across the three North Wales Police custody suites in Llay, Caernarfon and St Asaph and of the 581 detainees that were held in custody during the visiting times, 296 were spoken to and 53 were observed.
Welcoming the award, North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin said: “I am pleased to see the ICV scheme in North Wales recognised at a national level.
“Our dedicated team of trained volunteers from the local community, supported by our diligent staff, work to ensure the rights, entitlements, wellbeing, and dignity of detainees are upheld during their time in custody.
“We are honoured to have received a quality assurance award, which is a testament to the hard work of the staff within my office who are involved with the scheme.”
Dame Anne Owers, Chair of 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.”
Sherry Ralph, Chief Executive at ICVA said: “The quality assurance framework represents a significant amount of additional work to ensure that independent custody visiting is regularly reviewed, improvements are made where they are needed and excellent practice is shared.
“I congratulate schemes on their accomplishments and thank them for their commitment.”
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