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Dorset custody visiting scheme goes for gold

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset has won a prestigious gold national award for the quality of its independent custody visiting scheme.

The inaugural Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) Quality Assurance awards were presented at a ceremony at the House of Lords on Wednesday 15 May.

ICVA is the national organisation which supports, leads and represents locally-run custody visiting schemes. Schemes manage teams of independent volunteers who visit those detained in police custody.

Volunteers make unannounced visits to police custody to check on the rights, entitlements, well-being and dignity of detainees held in police custody, reporting their findings to Police and Crime Commissioners and Police Authorities who in turn hold Chief Constables to account.

The Quality Assurance awards were introduced by ICVA to help schemes:

·         Reflect on how they comply with the Code of Practice, the legislation that underpins custody visiting.

·         Celebrate areas of strength.

·         Promote custody visiting and the achievements schemes have made.

·         Drive performance and increase sharing of good practice

Dorset took gold in the awards – given to schemes that could provide an excellent standard of custody visiting and volunteer management.

This is the second highest of the four levels, with only platinum above it.

Within each level, there were more than 25 sets of criteria covering key areas such as holding the force to account, and requiring evidence to support each assessment. For Silver and Gold levels, schemes had to get their submissions peer assessed and ICVA assessed each submission for a Platinum award.

Martyn Underhill, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset and chairman of ICVA, said: “These awards recognise the standard of scheme being run in the area, and help drive up the standards of our schemes across the UK.  Warm congratulations to all of the winners.

“I’m also particularly pleased for Dorset’s scheme to have been recognised by receiving the award, and this is testament to the hard work and dedication of the staff and volunteers who work tirelessly across our county.”

Katie Kempen, Chief Executive at ICVA, said: “Independent custody visiting schemes ensure that the public have oversight of a high pressure and often hidden area of policing. These awards demonstrate how local schemes use volunteer feedback to make change and ensure that police custody is safe and dignified for all. I congratulate schemes on their accomplishments.”


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