Merseyside’s Deputy Police Commissioner joined the chair of the Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) scheme yesterday as he carried out a station visit to check on the welfare of detainees.
Cllr Emily Spurrell accompanied volunteer Reverend Peter Beaman as he carried out an unannounced visit to the custody suite at Copy Lane police station in Bootle during a busy afternoon.
The ICV scheme, which is run by the Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, see volunteers make random visits to custody suites across Merseyside every week to check on the conditions and make sure those who are being kept in the cells are being treated with dignity and respect.
There are currently 23 dedicated volunteers in Merseysides ICV scheme and last year they carried out a total of 265 visits, offering more than 2,330 detainees a welfare check. Rev. Beaman has chaired the scheme since 1985 and he invited the Deputy Commissioner to join him as he carried out one of his regular visits.
Emily said: “Our Independent Custody Visitors give up their free time to visit police stations at all times of the day and night to check on the welfare on those who are being kept in the cells.
“They carry out an important public duty which provides reassurance to those detainees, who are potentially vulnerable, as well as to the public, the police and to me.
“I was delighted to accompany Rev. Beaman, who has given more than 30 years dedicated service to this scheme, as he carried out one of his regular visits to Copy Lane custody suite. It was really worthwhile and interesting to see first-hand the essential work our volunteers do and the interaction they have with both the custody sergeants and officers and those who are being kept in the cells.
“Knowing that Rev. Beaman and the other dedicated volunteers are carrying out these visits on a weekly basis gives the Police Commissioner and I peace of mind and helps the public to know that those who are being detained are kept in safe and appropriate conditions and receiving care of the highest standard.”
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 Deputy Commissioner has recently undertaken a recruitment drive to train up to 10 new volunteers to join the scheme.
Find out more about the ICV scheme here.