Independent Custody Visiting Scheme - 'A Volunteering Opportunity like No Other'
Are you interested in what goes on behind the scenes in police custody?
Do you have a flair for bringing people together to make a positive difference?
Do you want to gain unique experience like no other volunteering opportunity can offer?
West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson is looking for community focused compassionate volunteers to join his Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) scheme.
Custody Visitors have an independent role, checking that people held in police custody (not yet convicted of any offence) are being properly treated.
When a person is arrested by the police, they are taken to a custody suite where they are detained whilst the details of the case are investigated. To promote transparency, and provide reassurance to communities about the treatment of detainees, an Independent Custody Visiting scheme is in place.
ICVs are volunteers, over the age of 18, from a variety of backgrounds and different communities, all whom live or work within West Yorkshire who have broadly based interests in the local community.
ICVs can enter a custody suite unannounced, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and are expected to make at least 24 visits spread evenly over a 12 month period.
Visitors speak directly to detained people to ensure that detainees understand their rights and entitlements whilst in custody, and check on their general feeling and welfare. Visitors can also check around the cells, and some areas of the custody suite, for example the food preparation area. They are volunteers and completely independent of the police service.
Access to police custody 24/7
Direct conversation with detained people
Ongoing support and training
Ultimate flexibility- volunteer with a fellow ICV at a time that suits you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Visits are always conducted in pairs, and visitors report only to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. Issues raised by ICVs are dealt with anonymously by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, and are taken up directly with West Yorkshire Police; custody visitors remain independent of both the detainee and the police. Being an ICV is a responsible and rewarding position, anyone who is successful in application will receive relevant training and ongoing support from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Mark Burns-Williamson said "Independent Custody Visitors perform a crucial role and it's only right that this important work is carried out by volunteers from the local community.
"I am looking for people from any background and from all sections of our community who believe in upholding standards and care about the treatment of others."
How to Apply
The recruitment window is currently closed however you can express your interest to the scheme manager by emailing [email protected] or call 01924 294000 (leave a message with your name, contact number and the reason for your call and we will call you back).
- The scheme covers all West Yorkshire areas; Wakefield, Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale.
- Custody visitors are expected to make a minimum of 24 visits per year (as far as possible spread evenly throughout the year).
- Custody Visitors are eligible to claim reasonable travel expenses for undertaking visits and training.
Applicants are usually appointed for a 3-year period and must:-
- Reside or work in West Yorkshire,
- Be over 18 years of age (at the time of appointment).
- Have been a UK resident for at least three years prior to date of application.
- Be willing and able to travel across West Yorkshire to access all custody suites.
Application is by completion of a short application form. If you are shortlisted you will be asked to attend an informal interview. All applicants selected for appointment will be vetted in accordance with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire's vetting procedures. Successful applicants will be required to undertake a one-day training course (usually held on a Saturday) to equip them with the knowledge and skills to be effective in carrying out the role. A dry visit to a custody suite and complete two custody visits in the company of experienced custody visitors. In addition to the initial training, custody visitors are expected to attend training and meetings held during their period of appointment.
All newly appointed Custody Visitors are required to undertake training prior to taking up their custody visiting duties:-
In addition to the initial training, Custody Visitors are required to attend training seminars and meetings held during their period of appointment.
ICVs will be provided with ongoing training, development and support throughout their appointment.
Real Life Experience
Two of our ICV's Jane and John (names changed for privacy) have provided accounts of their time and experiences with the West Yorkshire Independent Custody Visiting Scheme. They discuss what visiting custody means to them, why they chose to get involved and the positive impacts they have had.