Agenda item


Each year the OPCC produces an annual report setting out the work of the ICV scheme, and this is being presented to the Police and Crime Panel for information.




Lisa Townsend, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey

Erika Dallinger, Independent Custody Visitor Scheme Manager

Key points raised in the discussion:

  1. The ICV Scheme Manager provided an overview of this statutory scheme, explaining that its purpose was to provide reassurance to the community around the welfare of detainees in police custody. The ICV Scheme Manager explained that Surrey had three custody suites which were each visited around five times a month, and the scheme had an average of 41 volunteers. The visits were unannounced, and the visitors’ entry could not be delayed by the Force. The ICV Scheme Manager hoped that the scheme in Surrey would be awarded Platinum status by the Independent Custody Visiting Association this year.


  1. A Panel Member queried whether the four outstanding recommendations from the 2015 His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) inspection were still relevant and how the PCC had checked on the progress of these recommendations. The ICV Scheme Manager explained that the OPCC was involved in action tracking meetings and proactively addressing the recommendations from HMICFRS. The outstanding recommendations had since been addressed, were in progress, or were no longer relevant.


  1. A Panel Member asked about plans to encourage greater diversity among volunteers and any barriers to those from the Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community becoming a volunteer. The ICV Scheme Manager informed the Panel that there was a limit on the number of volunteers required in the scheme. The current demographic of volunteers did broadly represent the demographic within Surrey, but it did not represent the demographic of the custody population. The ICV Scheme Manager would like there to be greater diversity and was working with the Force’s Diversity Lead to try to raise the profile of the scheme.


  1. A Panel Member questioned why issues such as a lack of curtains or screens in the medical room were not picked up by the volunteers. The ICV Scheme Manager explained that these were removed during the pandemic due to a risk of infection. ICVs were not permitted in the medical rooms, to preserve privacy for detainees. The criteria of the visits for ICVs compared to HMICFRS was different, however, this would be picked up in future. The Panel Member noted that disposable curtains were available. The ICV Scheme Manager took the suggestion on board.


  1. A Panel Member asked about the process of achieving Platinum status and the tangible benefits. The ICV Scheme Manager was confident that the Scheme in Surrey could achieve Platinum status; it was just about evidencing the work already occurring. It would create a morale boost for the volunteers and show nationally that Surrey was running a strong scheme.


  1. A Panel Member asked about the involvement of volunteers in the production of the report. The ICV Scheme Manager shared that the volunteers would be asked for any feedback that they would like to be included in the report. The Panel Member also enquired about the concerns around a breach of Section 40 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (review of detention) and whether this was picked up by the volunteers. The ICV Scheme Manager explained that this issue had been tracked for over a year prior to the inspection.


  1. A Panel Member asked about the reason for staff shortages in custody. The ICV Scheme Manager noted that this was an operational matter. They had been actively recruiting and some of the shortages were due to sickness. The PCC added that two custody officers passed away during the pandemic, therefore, it had been a difficult period for the volunteers and those working in custody.


  1. A Panel Member raised the issue of detainees reporting complaints. The ICV Scheme Manager explained that the volunteers highlighted the complaints procedure to the detainee. If a strip search occurred, there needed to be a clear rationale in the custody report explaining why it had to take place, as there was a large focus on the dignity of detainees. The Custody Scrutiny Panel looked at data across the whole of Surrey.



The Panel noted the report.

Supporting documents: