Volunteer Independent Custody Visitors Wanted
There are currently eight active Independent Custody Visitors (ICV) in Gwent who volunteer their spare time to visit custody suites and ensure the fair treatment of people in police custody. Following a number of ICV retirements, Gwent PCC Ian Johnston is kick starting a summer recruitment drive during Volunteers Week (June 1st - 7th) and is encouraging more people to come forward to dedicate their time as ICVs.
ICVs play a vital role in ensuring that the wellbeing of detainees is monitored and that issues relating to individuals or the custody environment are addressed appropriately. The ICVs are trained to prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable detainees and that detainees are aware of their rights and entitlements.
The Commissioner has a responsibility to monitor the independent custody scheme and each visit is concluded with a report which is sent to the PCC. Any issues arising are discussed during specific quarterly meetings with the Police Force.
One of the current Independent Custody Visitors, Anthony Angell, recently scooped a Good Citizen award from the Commissioner at the annual Gwent Police Awards.
Explaining the important role that volunteers play as Independent Custody Visitors, Anthony Angell, said: "I volunteered to assist Gwent Police in their agreement to make sure detainees are treated fairly and that their accommodation is adequate. The slightest positive impact I can have on a person's life or anything I can do to make sure their stay in custody is comfortable fills me with the utmost satisfaction. It's important for those in custody to know that there is someone out there looking after their rights. An ICV can help someone who is in dire need and assure that person that no harm will come to them. My message to those thinking about applying is to volunteer and realise your potential."
Urging volunteers to come forward, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Ian Johnston, said: "It's important to recognise the outstanding contribution volunteers such as Anthony make across the country. Independent Custody Visitors play a vital role in raising standards of custody and treatment of detainees and I would encourage anyone with an interest in ensuring the fair treatment of people in police custody to come forward."
The ICVs receive regular training in house and additional training which is provided by the Independent Custody Visitors Association at Gwent Police HQ. ICVA training will be delivered in August and will provide refresher training and look at the issues around the detention of young persons.
For further information about how to become an Independent Custody Visitor or to download an application form, please click here or call the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner on 01633 642 200.
The forms should be submitted by post or email no later than 4pm on Friday July 31st 2015.
How the amazing volunteers in Gwent are helping the Police and Crime Commissioner and Gwent Police to keep our communities safe and support the work of the Force:
- Animal Welfare Visiting Scheme - 14 volunteers provide an independent check on the condition and welfare of Gwent Police Dogs. The lay visitors check police dog's welfare at local police stations to ensure they are cared for appropriately. Reports are submitted to the Commissioner for the record and to identify any matters that need addressing.
- The PCC also partly funds the activities of Crime Prevention Panels throughout Gwent. These are groups of volunteers who offer crime prevention information and target hardening activities to local communities.
- Gwent Police's Independent Advisory Group (IAG) has 10 active volunteer members from across the Force area. The IAG takes on the role of a critical friend to the Force in relation to serious or critical incidents. Members are also able to comment on issues relating to disability, gender, sexual orientation, age, race, culture and religion.
- Special Constables (SCs) - are trained volunteers who have the same powers as regular police officers. Gwent Police currently has 121 Specials who have completed over 23,000 duty hours in the last 12 months. This includes well over 1,000 hours during the NATO Summit.
- Volunteer Police Cadets - The Volunteer Police Cadets (VPC) is a uniformed voluntary youth organisation, supported by Gwent Police, open to people aged 13 - 18 from across Gwent's communities.
- Community Speedwatch - The first Speedwatch site was set up in Llanfair Killgeddin in July 2014 after funding from the Commissioner was used to set up a pilot scheme. Funding has been agreed by the PCC for another six Community Speedwatch sites in Gwent which will take the Speed Watch total to over 75 volunteers.