OPCC wins national award for custody visiting scheme

6th December 2023

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent has been recognised nationally for the high quality of its independent custody visiting scheme.


Independent custody visitors (ICVs) are trained volunteers who conduct unannounced visits to custody units to check on the treatment of people in custody, the conditions in which they are being held, and to ensure that their rights and entitlements are being observed.


Their findings are reported to the Police and Crime Commissioner and help to ensure robust scrutiny of all aspects of the work of Gwent Police.


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.


The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent was presented with a silver quality assurance award by the ICVA on Wednesday 29 November 2023 at its annual award ceremony.


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."