VOLUNTEERS are wanted to become Independent Custody Visitors (ICV) in Greater Manchester.

The ICV scheme ensures that custody facilities at Greater Manchester Police are independently checked and monitored by volunteers.

Members of the local community, who are aged 18 and over and have no direct involvement with the criminal justice system, are invited to consider becoming a volunteer and carry out tasks with the aim of supporting the welfare and wellbeing of people held in police custody.

ICVs look at a number of factors including the treatment of detainees and behaviour of custody staff, as well as the effectiveness of custodial processes.

Recommendations from ICVs can lead to changes being implemented to improve the welfare of detainees, meaning the volunteers play a valuable role in maintaining public confidence in this area of policing.

In Greater Manchester there’s a total of 18 ICVs – with every custody suite in the city-region visited once a week.

What the role includes

Once a week two ICVs attend a police station unannounced to make an inspection and speak to detainees. On arrival at the police station, ICVs are escorted to the custody area where they interview a number of detainees in their cells and complete a structured report form.

For visitors’ protection, interviews are normally carried out within sight, but out of hearing, of the escorting police officer.

Strict rules of confidentiality apply. Detainees are identified only by their custody numbers, and the details of what visitors see and hear must also be treated as confidential. It is equally important that independent custody visitors maintain their independence and impartiality and do not become involved or take sides. They are there to look, listen and report on conditions in the custody facility.

The visit report form completed after each visit provides an insight into the running of the custody facility, and the conditions under which the detainees there at the time are being held, including the provision of their rights and entitlements. Copies of the reports are provided for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the police for discussion and follow-up.

Training

ICVs are required to attend seven mandatory training sessions to fulfil their role. Further optional training sessions are offered, for example on topics including substance misuse, interview skills and dementia.

Eligibility

To be eligible as an ICV volunteer, you must be 18 years of age or older, and have no direct involvement in the criminal justice system. For example, serving or retired police officers or staff, special constables or magistrates would not be considered for the role. Other people, such as solicitors or probation officers may also be excluded to prevent possible conflict of interests for the individual. This maintains the independence of the scheme as a whole.

Appointment as an independent custody visitor is subject to a successful application and interview process.

Application

To apply for the role of Independent Custody Visitor, please complete the application form which can be found below and return it to volunteers.icv@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk

You can also post completed forms to:
Independent Custody Volunteers Coordinator
Greater Manchester Combined Authority
Oxford Street
Manchester
M1 6EU


Article Published: 11/12/2019 08:20 AM