CUSTODY VISITORS CO-ORDINATE ACTIVITY ACROSS THE NORTH WEST AND NORTH WALES AS PART OF NATIONAL VOLUNTEERS WEEK

Posted on Thursday 2nd June

To celebrate the start of National Volunteers Week yesterday, unannounced checks were made to 30 police custody suites and police cells by members of the public across the North West and North Wales.

The visits were made simultaneously at 7.30pm by independent custody visitors who are volunteers who check on the welfare of persons being detained in police custody and the conditions in which they are being held.   

Cheshire Police & Crime Commissioner David Keane said: "While the visits yesterday were co-ordinated throughout the region, Custody visitors regularly make unannounced visits at any time, day or night to Cheshire Constabulary's three custody suites.

"The Custody Visiting Scheme provides an important safeguard for detainees and delivers an independent audit of how people being held in police custody are being treated. The volunteers are a vital part of the police family. Their work helps to build trust between the public and the police. The vast majority of reports received from custody visitors are complimentary about the conditions in custody."

Cheshire custody visitor Rob Selby said: "We regularly check on detainees and the working practices of staff in the police custody suites. Each time we visit, we report our findings to the Police & Crime Commissioner. 

"This helps ensure that the custody facilities are managed appropriately. In 2015/16 we made 157 visits to Cheshire’s custody suites and checked on 637 detainees who were available and randomly selected to be visited.  

"We introduce ourselves to the detainees and 95 per cent of those selected agreed to speak to us and discuss matters relating to their welfare.  Matters raised by detainees related to their detention; medical issues; and requests for telephone calls.  The majority of matters were resolved by the staff in the custody suite during the visit."