A series of unannounced checks were made of police custody cells across the North West and North Wales today as part of a coordinated visit by the region’s independent custody volunteers to mark National Volunteers Week.
Simultaneous visits were made at the custody suites in St Anne Street and on the Wirral, and at stations in the Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire, North Wales and Cumbria force areas at precisely 2pm by Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) to mark the celebratory week which recognises the contribution volunteers makes to communities across the country.
ICVs are volunteers who undertake random checks on police facilities to make sure those who are being kept in the cells are being cared for appropriately and in the correct conditions.
The visits were co-ordinated and overseen by the offices of the respective Police and Crime Commissioner, which operate the Independent Custody Visiting scheme in each of their Force areas.
The voluntary 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.
There are now 27 dedicated volunteers in Merseyside who, over the last year, carried out 265 visits to Merseyside’s four custody suites, offering a total of 2,337 detainees a visit.
The Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, said: “Our fantastic volunteers dedicate their free time to travel around the region making sure those who are being held in police cells are being treated fairly and correctly.
“This safeguard is in place to ensure that the way we detain men and women, young and old is appropriate and fair.
“Detainees are potentially vulnerable and these visits by our volunteers are an important protection for them and provide real reassurance to me, to Chief Officers and to the public that all is well in our justice system.
“I meet with our volunteers regularly and, as we celebrate Volunteers Week, I would like to thank our volunteers who give their time so generously for their hard work, dedication and commitment.”
Volunteers’ Week is an annual event which runs from June 1st to June 7th. It celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers in every community across the UK. It’s run by NCVO in partnership with Volunteer Development Scotland, Volunteer Now (Northern Ireland) and Wales Council for Voluntary Action.
Over 21 million people volunteer in the UK at least once a year and this contributes an estimated £23.9bn to the UK economy. This year, more than 250 events are being held across the country. You can show your support by using the hashtag #volunteersweek.
Find out more about the Independent Custody Visitor scheme.