Visitors may inspect the detainee’s custody records. The Custody Officer updates the custody record concerning the contact (if any) between the Visitor and detainee. Visitors may inspect vacant cells, detention rooms, charging area, medical room, etc. The Visitors complete the CV3 record form in a private room, seeking clarification of their observations, if necessary. Visitors hand over station copy of CV3 and make any verbal comments they wish. The Visitors keep their copy of the CV3 and post others to the officers in charge of the scheme.
A monthly report is produced to identify all the issues raised and how Northumbria Police will take action. These report can be found below.
Thanks for wanting to find out more information about the work of our Independent Custody Visitors and the Dog Welfare Scheme. If you are interested in becoming an Independent Custody Visitor, please check our volunteers vacancies section.
Independent custody visiting is the well established system whereby volunteers attend police stations to check on the treatment of detainees and the conditions in which they are held and that their rights and entitlements are being observed. It offers protections to both detainees and the police and reassurance to the community at large. Home Office Code of Practice – April 2003.
Although the work of an Independent Custody Visitor is entirely voluntary, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria has the right to terminate the appointment of any independent custody visitor whose conduct, performance or behaviour does not meet the required standards. Information relating to this code of conduct can be found within the document below:
There are 5 panels – each with a Coordinator. The Coordinators are responsible for day to day arrangements, setting the rota of visits and organising Panel meetings. The Coordinators also meet quarterly with OPCC and Police staff.
Pairs of visitors arrive unannounced. They should be given immediate Custody suite access. The Custody Officer inspects their I.D. and informs the visitors of detainees held and any special circumstances pertaining.
Visitors have access to virtually any person detained although access may be limited or denied for visitors’ safety or if such access could interfere with process of justice. Visitors have access to all parts of the Custody Suite. The Escorting Officer enters the cell first to ensure it is safe for the independent custody visitors to enter and explains to the detainee that the independent custody visitors will introduce themselves.
The escorting officer will remain in the cell whilst the independent custody visitors introduce themselves. The escorting officer will then leave the cell but remain sufficiently close so as the independent custody visitors and detainee can be seen but not heard. The visitors will then introduce themselves, explain the purpose of the visit and ask whether the detainee wishes to go ahead with the visit and consents to them seeing his / her custody record, and also confirm whether the conditions of detention are adequate.
They must remain impartial and not get involved in the investigation process. Any admissions or discussion of an alleged offence may be disclosed in legal proceedings. Messages must not be passed to or from detainees or offers made to perform other tasks on their behalf. Indications that a detainee may harm themselves or any other person must be reported immediately to the Custody Officer. If approved,