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Independent Custody Visitors

What is Independent Custody Visiting?

Independent Custody Visiting is a well established system whereby trained volunteers attend police stations to check on the welfare and treatment of detainees and to ensure that their rights and entitlements are being correctly observed. It offers protection to both detainees and the police, and reassurance to the community at large. 

There are currently twenty six custody visitors who fulfil this role. The scheme covers the designated police stations at:
• Durham
• Peterlee
• Bishop Auckland
• Darlington

The PCC along with the Chief Constable, fully support the work and day to day operation of the Independent Custody Visiting Scheme throughout County Durham and Darlington. It is essential in this age of 'policing by consent' that local communities have the utmost trust and confidence in its local police service. The Independent Custody Visiting Scheme is an important element in building and maintaining this trust.

Who can be an Independent Custody Visitor? 

Visitors come from all sections of the community. We seek to ensure that the overall set of Independent Custody Visitors is representative of the local community and provides a suitable balance in terms of age, gender and ethnicity. No special skills are required as suitable training is provided but you should be a good listener, non-judgmental and unprejudiced. You should be able to make informed judgments which the police will accept as fair criticism when it is justified. Due to a potential conflict of interest, serving police officers and other serving members of police staff will not be eligible to serve as Independent Custody Visitors. The same reasoning applies to Special Constables and Justices of the Peace.

How much of my time would it take up?

Visits are always made in pairs and at a time convenient to the Visitor. Visits to police stations are unannounced and random and the length of each visit depends on how many people are in custody. At the end of each visit the Custody Visitor will prepare a report, copies of which are sent to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Constabulary. The Visitors also retain their own copy of the report, and one copy is left at the station. As well as the visits, quarterly panel meetings are held for Visitors at which topical items are discussed.

Visit Details

At the end of each visit Independent Custody Visitors complete a report form.

Coming soon - Details of the issues raised by visitors.

To find out more about Independent Custody Visiting please click on the link below:




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