16 May 2019
Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office wins prestigious national award for its custody visiting
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys has won a prestigious national award for the quality of its Independent Custody Visiting Scheme.
In Dyfed-Powys, 26 volunteers – Independent Custody Visitors – make unannounced visits to police custody to check on the rights, entitlements, well-being and dignity of detainees held in police custody. They report their findings to Police and Crime Commissioners, who in turn holds the Chief Constable to account.
The inaugural Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) Quality Assurance Awards were presented at a ceremony at the House of Lords on Wednesday 15 May. ICVA is the national organisation which supports, leads and represents locally-run custody visiting schemes. Schemes manage teams of independent volunteers who visit those detained in police custody.
There were four graded levels of award, and the Dyfed-Powys Scheme was delighted to have received the Gold standard; meaning their Scheme provides an excellent standard of custody visiting and volunteer management. The Scheme was established in Dyfed-Powys in 2001, and since its roll out, thousands of visits have been made to custody suites across the force area.
Welcoming the award, Dafydd Llywelyn, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys said:
“I am very pleased that our Scheme has been recognised as being Gold standard. Custody Visiting has introduced transparency of the police custody processes, and our volunteers have a crucial role in ensuring that the Human Rights of detainees are upheld and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 is complied with. The continued commitment, support and enthusiasm shown by all of our custody visitors is instrumental in the success of the Scheme, and I would like to offer my personal thanks to them all.”
Shirley Matthews, an Independent Custody Visitor for Dyfed-Powys said:
“I am proud to have been selected to represent our team at the awards, and of the recognition of the good work the group has done in our area. I am also pleased that the work we do helps maintain welfare standards for detainees and supports custody staff in carrying out their duties safely”.
Katie Kempen, Chief Executive at 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. I congratulate schemes on their accomplishments."