Posted: Thu 15th Feb 2024

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner seeking volunteers to safeguard detainee wellbeing

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Feb 15th, 2024

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) North Wales is calling on members of the public to step forward as volunteers for the Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) programme.

This unique volunteer role offers individuals a chance to provide crucial oversight of detainees’ treatment and conditions in police custody across North Wales.

Independent Custody Visitors play a vital role in the justice system by conducting unannounced visits to police custody suites.

These visits aim to ensure that detainees’ needs are met, their rights are upheld, and their treatment is fair and humane.

Volunteers are expected to carry out a minimum of 10 visits annually, offering an independent assessment of the welfare and conditions experienced by detainees.

The recruitment drive is currently open, with a closing date set for 20 March 2024.

Successful applicants will receive comprehensive training in mid-July to prepare them for their responsibilities.

The OPCC is particularly keen on increasing the diversity of its volunteer base.

Welsh speakers and individuals from black and ethnic minority communities are encouraged to apply, supporting the OPCC’s commitment to inclusivity and reflecting the diverse population of North Wales.

From April to December 2023, ICVs have made a total of 89 visits, demonstrating the programme’s active engagement in safeguarding detainee welfare. Currently, there are 24 dedicated volunteers across the region contributing to this essential oversight function.

Andy Dunbobbin, the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, highlighted the importance of the ICV scheme, stating, “Having Independent Custody Visitors is hugely beneficial, as the welfare of individuals in custody is important for us all. Ensuring a fair and effective criminal justice system is a key priority in my plan for fighting crime in North Wales.”

Reflecting on her decade-long experience as an ICV, Vicki Cooper shared, “Each visit is different and can take about 2-3 hours. The training I initially received was excellent, and it gave me the confidence to start visiting. Being an ICV fits well into my working life and allows me an opportunity to meet other ICV colleagues.”

The programme not only offers a chance to contribute to the community’s welfare but also provides a platform for volunteers to engage with people from diverse backgrounds, enriching the volunteer experience with a variety of perspectives.

Volunteering as an ICV is an unpaid role, but the OPCC reimburses all travel expenses, ensuring that volunteers are supported in their commitment to this important work.

For those interested in becoming a part of this impactful programme and for more information on how to apply, please visit the OPCC North Wales website.

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