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Hampshire and Isle of Wight scheme wins national award for custody visiting

29 November 2023

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Independent Custody Visiting Scheme has been recognised nationally for the high quality of its independent custody visiting programme.

Under this scheme, trained volunteers from the local community (Independent Custody Visitors or ICVs), managed by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, make regular unannounced visits to police custody suites to check on the rights, entitlements, wellbeing and dignity of the detainees held there.

Their findings are reported to the Police and Crime Commissioners and Police Authorities who hold Chief Constables to account.

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 [see note].

This is the second year that schemes have been assessed under the framework, and have been able to gain quality assurance awards to recognise the value of their work.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight scheme was presented with a silver quality assurance award by ICVA on Wednesday 29 November 2023 at a ceremony in Birmingham.

Welcoming the award, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Donna Jones, said: “Independent custody visiting is an essential element of the work of my office as it is one of my statutory responsibilities to ensure there is an effective ICV system in place.

“The scheme relies on the enthusiasm and commitment of our volunteer ICVs, and I’m really proud of how they contribute towards increasing the public’s trust and confidence in the police throughout Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

“To be recognised nationally with this award is a well-deserved mark of their dedication.”

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.”