A scheme which checks on the welfare of people being held in police custody is marking its 20th anniversary.
Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) are volunteers drawn from all walks of life whose role is to provide an independent check on the welfare of custody detainees. The team of 22 volunteers are managed by the Office of the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner and make regular visits to the operational custody suites across Dorset.
A lunch event was held at The Tithe Barn at Hinton St Mary at the beginning of August to celebrate the milestone and was attended by The Lord Lieutenant, Mr Angus Campbell, together with the previous Lord Lieutenant Mrs Valerie Pitt-Rivers, and her husband Mr Antony Pitt-Rivers.
ICVs submit a report following each visit and meet every three months to discuss their findings with the Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Officers from Dorset Police. This important and highly valued role helps to strengthen police accountability and allows detainees to raise any concerns about their detention with someone independent of the police force.
Kathie Emery is the chair of the Dorset Independent Custody Visitors and has held this role since the scheme began in 1995. She said: “In the 20 years I have been chairman the police, both nationally and locally, have taken tremendous strides forward in ensuring that people detained by them are treated fairly, and more importantly safely, as many of them are vulnerable individuals. It has been a privilege to play my part in developing an independent audit, and I thank all visitors both past and present for their efforts.”
Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner said: “It is vital to recognise each and every ICV who volunteers their own time to ensure people detained in custody suits are appropriately cared for. I would also like to personally thank Kathie Emery who has dedicated 20 years of her life to supporting the scheme and she should feel very proud of her achievements. Without valuable volunteers like Kathie, the scheme would not be possible.”
For more information on the ICV scheme visit www.dorset.pcc.police.uk/ICV
Martyn and Kathie