Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn has confirmed that his Independent Custody Visiting Scheme will be the only Welsh scheme to have signed up to the Independent Custody Observers Pilot.

The pilot is being run by the Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) within seven Force areas across England and Wales and aims to further protect the welfare of those identified as vulnerable within police custody, including young people.

The Independent Custody Visiting (ICV) Scheme came about as a result of the Lord Scarman Report on the Brixton riots in 1981. All Police and Crime Commissioners now have a statutory duty to put in place an effective ICV Scheme to monitor the standards of custody facilities and the wellbeing of individuals being held in custody.

Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) are local volunteers who make weekly unannounced visits to custody suites to speak to detainees. They check on detainees’ rights, entitlements, welfare and wellbeing, and on the custody environment itself to ensure it is safe and fit for purpose helping to maintain the force’s high standards.

Taking part in ICVA’s Pilot, which commenced on 2nd September 2019, will allow the Commissioner’s ICVs to undertake more detailed checks during their visits. They will be able to routinely review the custody records of vulnerable detainees, giving them a better insight into the totality of care extended to vulnerable detainees across Dyfed-Powys custody suites.

Dafydd Llywelyn says: “I am very pleased that our scheme here in Dyfed-Powys has signed up to be part of the pilot. The introduction of custody record reviewing will allow ICVs to consider a detainee’s entire journey through custody, helping us to build a better understanding of any current and local issues.”

John Jones, Ceredigion ICV says: “It is very exciting to be taking part in the pilot scheme. In my view it gives another layer of quality control and will encourage best practice.”

Mandy Davies, Carmarthenshire Panel ICV says: “The current visits only provide a snap shot of issues whilst the pilot will enable us to examine all the relevant records. By providing unbiased observations from independent persons, the community can have confidence in fair and equitable treatment of detainees.”

As part of the Pilot, ICVs will also visit the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office on a weekly basis to report on a range of criteria which they must consider for the vulnerable detainees they visit. ICVs must examine whether the vulnerable individuals have been detained according to their needs and in line with Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) Regulations. This includes checks such as whether they received access to an Appropriate Adult, how long this took, and whether they were given information on their rights and entitlements. This will help identify both areas of good practice and areas where improvement may be needed.

Dafydd Llywelyn adds: “I am proud that our Custody Visiting Scheme has recently achieved the Gold standard in the Independent Custody Visiting Association’s (ICVA) Quality Assurance Awards, and taking part in this Pilot can only further increase the quality of Scheme.

“I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank all of our ICVs for the time and commitment they give to the Scheme. Their support and enthusiasm will be instrumental to the success of the pilot and I look forward to seeing the results of their efforts.”