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Independent Custody Visitors

South Division: Staffordshire
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If this were                                            
YOU...

Wouldn't you want someone to check on your welfare?

Independent Custody Visitors are members of the local community who visit police stations unannounced to make an independent check on the welfare of people being held in custody.

Staffordshire Police Authority needs more volunteers to carry out this vital role.

If you could spare a few hours a month and are looking for a new challenge, call 01785 232246 or go to http://www.staffordshirepoliceauthority.org.uk/volunteer
to find out more.

Applications are welcome from volunteers irrespective of their gender, ethnic origin, religious belief, sexual orientation or disability.

The South Division visits the detention cells at Watling House, Stafford, Stone, Rugeley and Wombourne Police Stations. They inspect the custody area and talk to people who are detained, asking about their welfare and ensuring they receive and know their rights.

Independent Custody Visiting owes its origin to Lord Scarman's Report following the Brixton riots during 1981. The Report recommended a system of independent, unannounced inspections of the procedure of detention in Police Stations by ordinary members of the local community.

Independent Custody Visitors have made a significant impact to Custody Suites across the country and conditions of detention.  Visits are always made in pairs and independently offer reassurance to the general community by visiting detainees who may be feeling helpless or vulnerable. All information is treated with the strictest confidence, but may be used in Court.

A full report is passed on to the Police Authority for any action which may need to be taken.  Any problems are also discussed further at regular meetings of the South Division.  Actions taken on these reports have improved the welfare of both detainees and custody staff. For instance, in the areas of better provision of food, hygiene and medical facilities,

Hundreds of unannounced visits are made within the Southern Staffordshire area each year; so visitors need to be properly and fully trained and also strive for quality throughout the scheme by acting in a professional manner.

It takes a few hours of time each month and full training and support is given.

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