Deputy PFCC praises ICV volunteers at annual conference
Cumbria’s Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (DPFCC), Mike Johnson, praised the dedication of the Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) volunteers at their annual conference on Saturday 22 April at Police HQ.
ICVs are volunteers from local communities in Cumbria, who make unannounced visits to police stations, to monitor the treatment of people in custody. They do this in pairs, by speaking with those in detention, inspecting facilities and checking custody records.
At the Conference, the volunteers received an update on custody about what is going on in the suites, covering the updates and improvements made from the most recent HMICFRS inspection and Operation Safeguard – the plan in place to deal with overcrowding in UK prisons. The ICVs also received a talk on Liaison and Diversion that identifies mental health risks in offenders and provides support throughout their journey in the criminal justice system. Cumbria Police Dogs Unit gave a demonstration on the different skills of the Police Dogs and what they are used for. Officers also provided a Use of Force demonstration on different techniques and types of items they may see in Custody to keep detainees and Officers safe such as handcuffs and spit hoods.
Speaking on the event, DPFCC Mike Johnson, said: “The ICV conference provides our volunteers from across the county the opportunity to come together, discuss the role and raise any issues regarding their role and what can be done to be improved.
“The Conference also provided me with the opportunity to meet our volunteers for the first time and thank them for their dedication.
“I was an ICV myself, so I fully understand the process on inspecting custody suites and the value that is added to a custody suite when all detainees are being cared for correctly.
“We are very fortunate that the scheme in Cumbria is so efficient and effective, thanks to the caliber of our ICV volunteer team.
“We had a great selection of speakers and demonstrations as well, with the chance to learn more about certain roles and projects within the Constabulary. These demonstrations provide the ICVs with more knowledge that can aide them in their inspections which can only be a positive.
“The public can be assured that the Constabulary’s custody suites are safe places for everyone involved and that the human rights and dignity of detainees is monitored and upheld.”
Kathryn Atkinson, ICV Volunteer, said: “Not only is it good to learn about the different aspects of Policing and how it can affect custody and our roles, but it is also useful to meet up with other ICV panels from across the county.
“We all do things slightly differently, even when following the same protocol, so it’s good to hear about what everyone else does during their visits, what works well and adopt different techniques so that we can continue to grow and improve.”