Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commission wins prestigious national award for custody visiting

Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commission wins prestigious national award for custody visiting

Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commission has won a prestigious 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, identify areas of strength, improve performance and share good practice.

There were four graded levels of award:

  • Code Compliant – Scheme meets statutory requirements and necessary volunteer standards
  • Silver – Scheme provides a good standard of custody visiting and volunteer management
  • Gold – Scheme provides an excellent standard of custody visiting and volunteer management
  • Platinum – Scheme provided an outstanding standard of custody visiting and volunteer management

Within each level, there were more than 25 set 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.

Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commission won a silver award.

Welcoming the award, Stephen Mold, Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said: “Ensuring the welfare of people in custody is an important obligation for my office and I’m pleased that this award has recognised the very high standard of service that our Independent Custody Visitors in Northamptonshire provide.  I’d like to extend my thanks to the team who give up their time to ensure detained people receive the support they need.”

Martyn Underhill, 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.”