Independent Custody Visitors
Who are ICVs?
ICVs are members of the public from your local area who conduct unannounced visits to custody units in order to check on the treatment of detainees, the conditions in which they are being held and to ensure that their rights and entitlements are being observed.
What happens during a visit?
Visits to a custody unit can take between half an hour to a few hours and are conducted once a week. ICVs always visit in pairs and decide themselves when the visit is made - morning, day or night.
On arrival at the police station, ICVs are granted immediate access and escorted directly to the custody unit in order to conduct their visit. Detainees are only identified by their custody numbers and strict rules of confidentiality apply.
Conversations with detainees focus on whether or not they have been offered their rights and entitlements under PACE. Interviews with detainees are, for the ICV’s protection, normally carried out within sight, but out of hearing of the escorting officer. Immediate areas of concern will be raised by ICVs with the custody officer at the time of the visit and any necessary action is taken.
A straightforward report form is completed after each visit providing an insight into the running of the custody unit at the time of the visit. Copies of the reports are provided to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and Gwent Police to monitor.
The Gwent Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) has a responsibility to ensure that detainees are able to speak to independent custody visitors openly and without fear of reprisals from the force as part of its responsibility under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT). OPCAT is an international human rights treaty designed to strengthen the protection of people deprived of their liberty. Click here to read our reprisals policy
For more information on ICVs, please visit the Independent Custody Visiting Association website.
Monitoring of Independent Custody Visiting Scheme
The minutes and annual updates are published in line with the Commissioners monitoring responsibilities.