Independent custody visiting is a vital part of the work of the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner in ensuring the police service is open and accountable to the people it serves.
The vast majority of the public will never see the inside of a police cell. The facilities offered are basic and are designed to hold people securely and safely for a short term to enable an investigation to take place – for most people less than 6 hours. Custody visitors visit detained people to ensure that they have been offered their legal entitlements whilst also checking on their welfare.
Independent Custody Visitors (ICV’s) make unannounced visits in pairs at varying times of the day and night. They are entitled to visit anyone detained in police custody with the detainee's consent. After each visit, Independent Custody Visitors produce a written report on their findings.
It is the responsibility of the Commissioner to recruit, train, manage and support all volunteers appointed to the Gloucestershire Independent Custody Visiting Scheme. Administration of the scheme is provided by the Information and ICV Coordinator. The ICV Coordinator reviews the issues raised by Independent Custody Visitors on the report forms and ensures that any outstanding matters are brought to the attention of Chief Inspector for Custody. Significant issues arising out of custody visits are referred to the PCC.
Gloucestershire has one designated custody suite, in Quedgeley, Gloucester. Stroud custody suite was de-designated from 1 April 2011 and is now only used as and when necessary. The new custody suite was built in Quedgeley alongside the Police Headquarters and was opened in 2015.
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