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SPA receives national industry standard for custody visiting

Published : 24/08/2020 15:38:50

The Scottish Police Authority has been awarded a prestigious national industry standard 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 a UK-wide organisation which supports, leads and represents locally-run custody visiting schemes. Schemes manage teams of independent volunteers who visit those detained in police custody.

Volunteers make unannounced visits to police custody to ensure that the rights of those in custody are protected and to check on the entitlements, well-being and dignity of detainees. They report their findings to Police and Crime Commissioners and Police Authorities who in turn hold Chief Constables to account.

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 are four levels of award and, within each level, there are 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 announcement, David Crichton, Vice-Chair of the Scottish Police Authority said:

“The SPA has been delivering a national Independent Custody Visiting scheme across Scotland since 2013 and I am delighted that we have been awarded a silver standard. The work of our 146 volunteers shines a light on examples of good practice and the real and sustained efforts put in by officers and staff across Police Scotland’s custody estate. This supports meaningful engagement with, and challenge of, Police Scotland to help shape and inform their custody practice and policy.”

Martyn Underhill, Chairman of ICVA, said:

“These awards recognise the standard of scheme being run in Scotland, 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) and Police Authority funded membership organisation set up to lead, support and represent local independent custody visiting schemes.

** ICVA – What makes a good scheme?