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As part of National Volunteers Week, Cumbria’s Police Fire and Crime Commissioner (Commissioner), David Allen met with Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) at Carlisle custody, to personally thank them for the role they play in making police custody transparent and ensuring those detained by the police, are treated fairly.

ICVs are members of the public who give up their own time to make unannounced visits to police custody suites. They independently deliver checks on detainees to see if they have been treated fairly, with dignity and are held in conditions that are safe. The ICVs provide reassurance to the public that police officers and staff are doing everything they should be within the custody environment.

In the last 12 months (1 April 2023 - 31 March 2024), 10,410 detainees were held in custody in Cumbria and 594 detainees were in custody at the time of the ICV volunteer visits.

Commissioner, David Allen comments: “As someone who has worked as a Custody Sergeant in my time as a Police Officer and dealt with ICV’s in the past, it was interesting to listen to the experiences and insights of our ICVs that were visiting custody today.

“It is incredibly positive that we are fortunate enough to have such a strong team of 41 ICV volunteers and I would like to thank them for giving up their time so willingly.

“Engaging in volunteer work creates the opportunity to interact with people from diverse backgrounds, develops personal skills and empowers people to reach their full potential.

“Our ICV volunteers lend their valuable skills and time in order to reassure the public that detainees in custody are treated fairly. They also play a crucial role in reporting the outcomes of their visits to my office, which ensures that any concerns found are acted upon appropriately by senior staff with responsibility for custody. We don’t stand still in policing, there is always room for improvement and the work of the ICV’s form a vital part in that improvement journey.

““I would like to extend my very genuine, personal thanks to each of our volunteers for their commitment to this vital role. We simply would not be as good, nor have as rich a picture of what we do and how to make it work better without our fantastic volunteers. I would especially like to encourage anyone with an interest in police custody or other community voluntary work to visit our website Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner - Making Cumbria Even Safer (

“As your Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner, I am the voice of residents within Policing and Fire – I am your voice. If any member of the public has a concern, please raise it with me at or call 01768 217734.”

When asked why they volunteer, one ICV commented: “ I feel detainees need to have an independent person looking out for them, to make sure they are being treated properly.

“I also believe that by working alongside the custody staff, they know we are not inspectors, but rather there to provide an independent viewpoint and make sure custody is running as smooth as possible.”

If you wish to report to police you can do so online at Report a crime | Cumbria Police. You can also phone on 101. Always phone 999 in an emergency or if a crime is in progress.