Independent Custody Visitors

Merseyside's Independent Custody Visiting Scheme is designed to make sure people who are detained by the police are held in accordance with the law.

Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) are members of the local community who make unannounced visits and observe, comment and report to the Police Commissioner on the conditions under which people are detained at Force Custody Suites.

ICVs determine whether the regulations governing detention have been complied with, and the interests of detainees properly considered.

Volunteers are unpaid but are reimbursed for travelling expenses.

Reverend Peter Beaman, who has been part of the Scheme since 1985, is Chair of the Merseyside Independent Custody Visiting scheme. Merseyside currently has 22 dedicated volunteers from across the region involved in this scheme.

These committed volunteers visit custody suites within Merseyside at random and complete a form which covers all aspects of ensuring the detainee’s welfare is being cared for appropriately. Reports which draw together issues and identify trends emerging from the visits are then presented to the Commissioner so that she can then consider action.

In 2019/20, a total of 229 custody visits took place across Merseyside. A total of 2,941 people were in custody at the time of visits, of which 1,022 consented to be seen by the ICVs.

Take a look at the ICV Annual Report for 2019/20.

The Independent Custody Visiting scheme was established following the recommendations of Lord Scarman in 1981 and began to operate in Merseyside in 1984.

More information

If you would like further information on the ICV scheme please Contact the Office of the Police Commissioner.

You can also find out more about custody visiting nationally on the Independent Custody Visiting Association website.