What do independent custody visitors do?

Independent custody visitors visit police stations in pairs. The actual timing of visits is entirely a matter for the pair of visitors, but should be random and unannounced (this includes evenings and weekends).

The custody officer or a member of the custody staff accompanies visitors during the visit, but should normally remain out of hearing during discussions between visitors and detainees.

The visitors conduct a short interview with the detainee, asking about their treatment whilst in custody. Visitors must maintain their independence and impartiality. They do not take sides but look, listen and report on what they find in the custody suite. Visitors are also allowed to inspect other parts of the custody suite including the kitchen, medical room and washing facilities.

A report form is completed after each visit. Copies of the forms are provided to the police and the Scottish Police Authority. Appropriate action will be taken to address any matter identified during a custody visit.