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Northumbria wins prestigious gold national award for custody visiting

20th May 2019

Northumbria wins prestigious gold national award for custody visiting.

Northumbria Independent Custody Visitors Scheme has won a prestigious national award for the quality of its independent custody visiting scheme.

The inaugural Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA*) Quality Assurance awards were presented at a ceremony at the House of Lords on Wednesday 15 May.

ICVA is the national organisation which supports, leads and represents locally-run custody visiting schemes. Schemes manage teams of independent volunteers who visit those detained in police custody.

The Office of Police and Crime Commissioner volunteers make unannounced visits to police custody to check on the rights, entitlements, well-being and dignity of detainees held in police custody, reporting their findings to Dame Vera Baird who in turn raises any issues with the Chief Constable.

The Quality Assurance awards were introduced by ICVA to help schemes:

  • Reflect on how they comply with the Code of Practice, the legislation that underpins custody visiting.
  • Celebrate areas of strength.
  • Promote custody visiting and the achievements schemes have made.
  • Drive performance and increase sharing of good practice

There were four graded levels of award:

  • Code Complaint – Scheme meets statutory requirements and necessary volunteer standards
  • Silver – Scheme provides a good standard of custody visiting and volunteer management
  • Gold – Scheme provides an excellent standard of custody visiting and volunteer management
  • Platinum – Scheme provided an outstanding standard of custody visiting and volunteer management

Within each level, there were more than 25 set of criteria covering key areas such as holding the force to account, and requiring evidence to support each assessment**. For Silver and Gold levels, schemes had to get their submissions peer assessed and ICVA assessed each submission for a Platinum award.

Welcoming the award, Dame Vera Baird QC, Police and Commissioner, said: “Here in Northumbria we strive to provide the very best care to those in custody and this award shows that we are getting it right.  I would like to thank our custody visitors who are brilliant and undertake many visits, without their commitment and dedication we would not have won gold.  Our next step is to secure the Platinum award”

Martyn Underhill, Chairman of ICVA, said: “These awards recognise the standard of scheme being run in the area, and help drive up the standards of our schemes across the UK.  Warm congratulations to all of the winners.”

Katie Kempen, Chief Executive at ICVA said: “Independent custody visiting schemes ensure that the public have oversight of a high pressure and often hidden area of policing.  These awards demonstrate how local schemes use volunteer feedback to make change and ensure that police custody is safe and dignified for all.  I congratulate schemes on their accomplishments.”


Notes for editors:

* The Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) is a Home Office, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) funded membership organisation set up to lead, support and represent local independent custody visiting schemes.

** ICVA – What makes a good scheme?