Be the ears and eyes of Cambridgeshire Police custody cells - volunteers needed

PUBLISHED: 10:03 13 September 2017 | UPDATED: 10:03 13 September 2017

A boy was injured at a recreation park in Stansted last month. Picture: ARCHANT

A boy was injured at a recreation park in Stansted last month. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Volunteers are needed to look at the way people are looked after in police cells across Cambridgeshire.

Visitors work in pairs to make unannounced visits to custody suites to check on the wellbeing of detainees and the standard of facilities.

Jo Treeby, who volunteers, said: “Independent custody visitors are the eyes and ears of the community, observing, commenting and reporting on how people in detention are being looked after.

“We are all ordinary members of the public, from a variety of backgrounds.

“As an ICV you get the chance to offer protection to both detainees and to the police, reassurance to the community at large and to see the workings of the criminal justice system – something you don’t normally get to see.”

Alasdair Baker, who manages the scheme on the commissioner’s behalf said: “This is a great opportunity to play your part in ensuring people in police custody are being cared for correctly and that issues relating to individuals or the custody environment are addressed.

“Being an ICV doesn’t take up too much of your time, you usually carry out one visit each month which takes about two hours and you can sign up for between 18 months and three years.

“We offer training (with any expenses covered) and are particularly interested to hear from people aged between 18 and 35 and from anyone with additional language skills.”

Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, added: “People volunteer as ICVs for a whole host of reasons – they may be interested in human rights or want to do more to help vulnerable people.

“Whatever the reason, ICVs make an important contribution to the rights of people in custody.”

They also act as independent monitors and report on whether Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) guidelines are being met.

Every force in the country has to have a visiting scheme.

• To find out more and download an application form visit cambridgeshire-pcc.gov.uk/volunteer-schemes/independent-custody-visitors-scheme.

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