Independent Custody Visitors

Independent custody visitors

The independent custody visiting (ICV) scheme ensures that Greater Manchester Police custody facilities are independently checked and monitored by volunteers. This scheme is a statutory responsibility of the Police, Crime and Commissioners role which is overseen in Greater Manchester by Greater Manchester Combined Authority, specifically the Deputy Mayor for Police, Crime, Fire and Criminal Justice, Kate Green.

Independent custody visitors (ICVs) are members of the local community who volunteer to visit police stations unannounced to check on the welfare and wellbeing of people held in police custody. They look at a number of issues, from the treatment of detainees and behaviour of custody staff, to the effectiveness of custody processes. Independent custody visitor (ICV) recommendations can require the police to make improvements for the welfare of detainees and, therefore, they play a valuable role in maintaining public confidence in this important area of policing.

There are thirteen ICVs in Greater Manchester, and every custody suite in the area is visited, in pairs, once a week. ICVs also inspect police custody facilities at Manchester Airport once a month.

Deputy Mayor Kate Green said:

“Independent custody visitors (ICVs) play a vital role in providing the public with confidence that police treat individuals lawfully and with respect when detained in police custody. ICVs act as ‘critical friends’ and provide invaluable feedback on the wellbeing of detainees from an independent, impartial and non-discriminatory view of all parties involved in the custody visiting process.

Appropriate adults also have an important role to play in the custody environment by ensuring that the detained person whom they are assisting understands what is happening to them and why.

The Volunteer Activity Report 2017/2018 demonstrates the amount of valuable time that the volunteers gave to their role and the high amount of detainees that they were able to assist and check on their welfare. I am extremely proud of our GMCA volunteers and praise their professionalism and commitment to these vital roles.”

Volunteering with us – Independent Custody Visiting (ICV)

Please register your interest by emailing volunteers.icv@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk.

GMCA will add your name to the volunteer recruitment list and email you an ICV application pack to read through and complete. You will then be contacted when we are opening the recruitment process. You can request your name to be removed at any time.

Reasons to be a GMCA Independent Custody Visiting Volunteer

  • Be part of a great team and meet new people
  • Gain work experience within a leading emergency service
  • Out of pocket expenses paid
  • Learn about aspects of the custody process and other relevant partner agencies
  • Develop and improve your confidence communicating with lots of different people, cultures, and backgrounds
  • Attend training courses relevant to your volunteering role, useful on both a personal and professional level and for on-going development
  • Regular feedback, support groups and one to one sessions with the Volunteers Manager

Recruitment

The role

Once a week two ICVs attend a police station unannounced to make an inspection and speak to detainees. On arrival at the police station, visitors are escorted to the custody area where they speak with detainees in their cells to check on their welfare and that their needs are being met, and complete an electronic structured report form.

For visitors’ protection conversations are normally carried out within sight, but out of hearing, of the escorting police officer.

Strict rules of confidentiality apply. Detainees are identified only by their custody numbers, and the details of what visitors see and hear must also be treated as confidential. It is equally important that ICVs maintain their independence and impartiality and do not become involved or take sides. They are there to look, listen and report on conditions in the custody facility.

The visit report form completed after each visit provides an insight into the running of the custody facility, and the conditions under which the detainees there at the time are being held, including the provision of their rights and entitlements. The reports are provided to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Police, Crime, Criminal Justice, and Fire Team for analysis by the Volunteers Manager and if necessary, to follow-up with GMP Custody Inspectors for discussion and possible escalation.

We are always looking for dynamic and highly motivated individuals to provide support and a welcoming service to the communities across Greater Manchester to assist in making this a safer place to live, work and visit.

The locations of GMP Custody Suites are:
  • Tameside (Ashton)
  • Stockport (Cheadle)
  • Salford (Swinton)
  • Trafford (Pendleton)
  • Bury
  • Wigan
  • North Manchester
  • Bolton

Training

ICVs are required to attend essential learning sessions i.e., Inclusion Essentials for both staff and volunteers to fulfil their role and Health and Safety within the custody environment. They also need to view the Independent Custody visiting Association (ICVA) bitesize training sessions, for example, Learning Disability and Neurodiverse, that are accessed via their website. Further optional training sessions are offered on topics including challenging conversations and substance misuse.

Eligibility

Greater Manchester Combined Authority is responsible for recruiting, selecting and appointing all custody visitors.

To be eligible as an ICV volunteer, you must be 18 years of age or older and have no direct involvement in the criminal justice system. For example, serving or retired police officers or staff, special constables or magistrates would not be considered for the role. Other people, such as solicitors or probation officers may also be excluded to prevent possible conflict of interests for the individual. This maintains the independence of the scheme.

Appointment as an ICV is subject to a successful application, references, interview process, induction training and a 6 months’ probation review.

The selection process is designed to test and measure in line with the five values and behaviours - respect, excellence, honesty, inclusivity, and professionalism

*Please note, this role is subject to GMP Vetting clearance.

Application 

Be part of the team and join our army of extraordinary volunteers who carry out an important role visiting police custody suites and speaking to detainees across Greater Manchester to ensure they receive fair and equal treatment under the law.

To apply for the role of Independent Custody Visitor, please complete the application form available to download from the bottom of this page, and return it to volunteers.icv@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk.

You can also post completed forms to: Volunteers Manager, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 6EU.

Downloadable documents

Independent Custody Volunteer Application Form

Find out more about GMCA, Police, Crime, Criminal Justice, and Fire team