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Published: 29 November 2023

Gold award for custody visiting

Topic: Performance

Independent Custody Visiting Scotland has been recognised nationally for the very high quality of its independent custody visiting scheme.

Under this scheme, trained volunteers from the local community (Independent Custody Visitors or ICVs), managed by ICVS make regular unannounced visits to police custody suites to check on the rights, entitlements, wellbeing and dignity of the detainees held there. 

The Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) - the national membership organisation that supports, leads and represents these schemes - has developed a quality assurance framework to assess how well schemes comply with the code of practice that governs custody visiting.

This is the second year that schemes have been assessed under the framework, and have been able to gain quality assurance awards to recognise the value of their work. The IVCS scheme was presented with a Gold Quality assurance award by ICVA on Wednesday 29 November, at a ceremony in Birmingham.

Dame Anne Owers, Chair of 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.”

Sherry Ralph, Chief Executive at ICVA said: “The quality assurance framework represents a significant amount of additional work to ensure that independent custody visiting is regularly reviewed, improvements are made where they are needed and excellent practice is shared. I congratulate schemes on their accomplishments and thank them for their commitment."

Note for editors:

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 provides an outstanding standard of custody visiting and volunteer management.

Within each level, there were more than 25 criteria covering key areas such as holding the force to account and requiring evidence to support each assessment. For Silver and Gold levels, schemes’ evidence was signed off by their senior management and dip sampled by ICVA. ICVA assessed each submission for a Platinum award.

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