Could you volunteer your time to check on the welfare of those held in custody?
Dorset PCC, Martyn Underhill, has today launched a recruitment campaign for Independent Custody Visitors: a team of volunteers across Dorset who visit custody suites to check on the welfare of detainees.
There are currently 13 volunteers who visit suites in Weymouth, Bridport, Poole and Bournemouth and it is hoped we can attract additional residents to get involved with the scheme.
The role sees volunteers undertake random, unannounced visits to cells to make sure those being held are being cared for appropriately and to check on conditions.
Between April 2015 and March 2016, Dorset Independent Custody Visitors made 109 unannounced visits to police stations, meeting 450 detainees.
Open events are being held at Poole Police Station on the morning of Wednesday 21 September and the evening of Thursday 22 September. There will be an opportunity to take a look around the custody suite, meet some existing custody visiting volunteers and find out more about the scheme.
**UPDATE: Due to popular demand, we've added an aditional event on the evening of 28 September.**
Anyone looking to attend is asked to register in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01202 229084 for security purposes.
Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Independent Custody Visitors carry out an important public duty which provides reassurance to the public, the police and to me. Detainees can be extremely vulnerable and it is vital we have independent scrutiny to ensure their legal entitlements and rights are respected.
“This is an interesting and fulfilling role where volunteers can make a real difference within their community and get an insight into how our police system operates. By volunteering for this scheme, people can play their part in promoting the highest standards of policing.”
Salvatore D’Arrigo, a university student and Independent Custody Visitor said: “Becoming an Independent Custody Visitor is definitely the best thing I’ve ever done. In custody, not everyone is guilty of a crime and it is very rewarding to be part of a scheme which ensures people are treated in the most appropriate way, during a time when they are at their most vulnerable.
“When I go to job interviews and explain the role, it really sets me apart from the crowd. Custody visiting is a unique thing to be part of and I would highly encourage applying to the scheme; you really can make a difference.”
ICVs must have good observational and thinking skills, strong ethical principles and be comfortable challenging authority where required. Ideally, volunteers will come from a range of backgrounds, ages and experience.
Volunteers must be over 18 years old and live or work in the Dorset area. Full training will be given.