Top honours for Derbyshire’s custody visiting scheme

Published on: Wednesday, 22nd May 2019
PCC Hardyal Dhindsa with the ICV team
Emily Wakeland and Liz Kelly from the Derbyshire PCC's office receiving the award  with Katie Kempen

Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa recently paid tribute to his team of dedicated custody watchdogs whose efforts have helped scoop a national award.

The Commissioner's Independent Custody Visiting (ICV) scheme - the service set up to provide independent checks of police custody facilities across Derbyshire - has won a coveted Platinum in the Quality Assurance awards.

The award, issued by the Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA*), represents excellence in the delivery of custody visiting and volunteer management.  It was presented at a glittering ceremony at the House of Lords on Wednesday 15 May.

ICVs dedicate their own time to carry out unannounced visits to police custody facilities to ensure the rights', entitlements and wellbeing of detainees are being adhered to.  They report their findings to PCCs who have the responsibility of holding their force to account and requesting improvements in standards.

Derbyshire also pioneered an innovative oversight model specifically designed to check on the care given to vulnerable detainees in custody, particularly when they are released.

The model was introduced last April and following a successful six-month pilot has been rolled-out to run alongside regular custody visiting. The ICVA has recognised the significant benefits of this model and are now seeking a national pilot.

The Quality Assurance awards were introduced by the ICVA, the national organisation which supports and represents locally-run schemes, to provide a performance benchmark and highlight excellence in service.

Commenting on the award, Mr Dhindsa said: "I'm very proud of our ICV scheme and the contribution local people make to this wonderful service.  Our ICVs play a special role in the policing family, dedicating their time free of charge to provide openness and accountability to the public in Derbyshire and importantly safeguarding the welfare and wellbeing of detainees.

"While this award clearly recognises high-quality performance, there is no place for complacency and we will continue to do our very best to raise the bar higher in the future."

Derbyshire successfully met more than 100 criteria to qualify for the 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."

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