Independent Custody Visiting Scheme

Commissioner’s message

“I wish you a warm welcome to the Hampshire scheme page.  We have a wealth of knowledge and experience within our members so if you decide to join us; you will be in good hands.

The work of independent custody visitors offers protections to detainees and transparency of detention processes.  Custody visitors are the eyes and ears of the public, providing reassurance from ‘outside’ of the constabulary that all is as it should be.  The work of custody visitors contributes to my Police & Crime Plan by providing accessibility, visibility and accountability of Hampshire constabulary.  Their contribution to the scheme helps me to fulfil my statutory duty to hold the Chief Constable to account.

I value this important service and the contribution that custody visitors make in helping to keep the people in our community safer.”

What is an Independent Custody Visitor?

Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) are members of the local community who visit police stations unannounced to check on the treatment of detainees, the conditions in which they are being held and that their rights and entitlements are being observed.

AET88B Independent Custody Lay Visitor visiting man in custody in is police cell UK

 

Who can be a Visitor?

Subject to certain exceptions anyone can apply to be an ICV. Visitors must be more than 18 years old, have been resident in the UK for at least three years prior to the date of application and currently reside in Hampshire or Isle of Wight. No special skills are required as full training and support is provided, however Visitors should be good listeners, non-judgemental, unprejudiced and generally have an interest in the community and the welfare of the people detained in police cells.  We are actively seeking to make the profile of our visitors more diverse and we welcome applications from all members of the community.

How, when, where are the visits?

The actual timing of visits is entirely a matter for the pair of visitors, but should be random and unannounced (this includes evenings and weekends). ICVs visit custody suites in Aldershot, Basingstoke, Portsmouth, Southampton and Newport, Isle of Wight.

What happens on a visit?

ICVs visit police stations in pairs. The custody officer or a member of the custody staff accompanies visitors during the visit, but should normally remain out of hearing during discussions between visitors and detainees. The visitors conduct a short interview with the detainee, asking about their treatment whilst in custody. ICVs must maintain their independence and impartiality. They do not take sides but look, listen and report on what they find in the custody suite. Visitors are also allowed to inspect other parts of the custody suite including the kitchen, medical room and washing facilities.

How is a visit reported?

A report is completed after each visit. Copies of the reports are provided to the police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire. Appropriate action will be taken to address any issues identified during a custody visit.

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Scheme Handbook

Read the Scheme Handbook

Read the Scheme Handbook Appendices

Can I sign up?

There are currently 48 ICVs across Hampshire and Isle of Wight. Members of the community wishing to become an ICV need to complete an application form which is returned to the Scheme Administrator. A shortlisting and interview process is undertaken and successful applicants need to attend a one day training session. Ongoing training is provided.

Documents and hands

If you would like any further information about becoming a custody visitor in Hampshire or the Isle of Wight, please use the Contact Us form or email the ICV Scheme mailbox

If you would like to apply to be a Visitor please download our application form here

If you would like to find our more about the role of a Visitor please download our guide here

If you would like to find out if you are eligible to be a Visitor please download our guide here

Think you have the right qualities for a Visitor? Check against our list here

If you want to know more about the scheme feel free to download our FAQ document here

Our latest six month report that covers July 2015 to December 2015 is available to download here

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