News

90 years of dedication

Merseyside / April 07

Three volunteers who have dedicated a total of 90 years of service checking on the welfare of people in custody have been congratulated and thanked by Merseyside’s Police Commissioner.

Reverend Peter Beaman, Muriel Kelly and Ben Quartey have each volunteered their free time over the last 30 years to act as Independent Custody Visitors (ICV). As ICVs they have undertaken random, unannounced visits to police custody suites across the region to make sure those who are being kept in the cells are being cared for appropriately and check on the conditions.

The ICV scheme was established following the recommendations of Lord Scarman in 1981 after his investigation into the Brixton riots and first began to operate in Merseyside in April 1984, with 20 members of the public being trained as visitors.

The scheme is now overseen by the Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy and led by Reverend Beaman as ICV Advisor, with 32 members of the public giving up their time to carry out the visits. Between them, the volunteers made more than 360 unannounced trips to custody suites across Merseyside between April 2013 and March 2014, offering to check on the welfare of nearly 3,200 detainees.

Following their observations, the volunteers then comment and report back to the Commissioner on all aspects of the detainee’s welfare.

Jane said: “Peter, Muriel and Ben have each dedicated 30 years of their lives to checking on the welfare of others, making sure people who are detained in police cells are being cared for and treated appropriately.

“As ICVs, they have spent hours driving, walking and bussing to police stations in all weathers and at all times so they can ask to go in, look around the cells and meet those people being detained. By doing this, they can comment on how they are being treated and look after their welfare. Detainees are potentially vulnerable and visits by our ICV volunteers are a key protection and reassurance for them.

“By giving their time in this way, Peter, Muriel and Ben have carried out an important public duty which provides reassurance to the public, the police and to me,  that all is well with the way we detain men and women, young and old, in our British system, a system of justice of which we are rightly proud.

“This is what Lord Scarman envisaged when he suggested the ICV scheme and this is what Peter, Muriel and Ben have been pivotal in delivering here on Merseyside over the last three decades.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their selflessness, their dedication and their commitment. Their work has been a vital part of our system to prevent crime and disorder and care for everyone’s human rights.”

Top image: Jane with Rev Beaman

Image L-R: Ben, Muriel and Rev Beaman collecting their 30 years service certification.