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Thames Valley marks Volunteers Week celebrating national award for custody visiting

In Volunteers Week, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Thames Valley is celebrating a prestigious national award for the quality of its independent custody visiting scheme.

The inaugural Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) presented Thames Valley OPCC with a Code Compliant Award at its Quality Assurance awards ceremony at the House of Lords on 15 May.

The Independent Visitor Scheme is delivered by volunteers who make unannounced visits to police custody to check on the rights, entitlements, well-being and dignity of detainees held in police custody.  They report their findings to the Police and Crime Commissioner who in turn holds the Chief Constable to account.

ICVA is the national organisation which supports, leads and represents locally-run custody visiting schemes.

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

Anthony Stansfeld, Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said: “I am delighted our Independent Custody Visitor Scheme has been recognised nationally. The ICV scheme is so important in ensuring the welfare and entitlements of detainees across the Force. All Independent Custody Visitors are volunteers, and we wouldn’t be able to deliver the scheme without their continued commitment and support”.

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.”

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."

Volunteers Week runs from 1 – 7th June and is a chance to celebrate the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.

For further information about the Independent Custody Visitor Scheme and to find out how you can volunteer, please visit.


Editors notes

There were four graded levels of Quality Assurance award:

  • Code Complaint - 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.

For further information about ICVA: