Dorset has been recognised nationally for the exceptional quality of its custody visiting scheme. 

The Scheme, overseen by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, sees trained volunteers from the local community, known as Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs), make regular unannounced visits to police custody suites to check on the rights, entitlements, well-being, and dignity of the detainees held there. Their findings are reported to the Police and Crime Commissioner, who holds the Chief Constable to account.

The Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) - the national membership organisation that supports, leads and represents these schemes - has developed a quality assurance framework to assess how well schemes comply with the Code of Practice that governs custody visiting.

The Dorset Scheme was presented with a gold Quality Assurance Award by the ICVA on Wednesday, November 29. 

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, David Sidwick said: “I am delighted to see the Dorset Independent Custody Visiting Scheme receive this gold award for providing an excellent standard of custody visiting.

“I would like to thank all our volunteers for their hard work and dedication. Independent Custody Visiting plays a vital role in holding the Force to account and ensuring all receive fair treatment from the police.”

Dame Anne Owers, Chair of ICVA, added: “Independent Custody Visiting Schemes ensure that the public have oversight of a high pressure and often hidden area of policing.

“These awards demonstrate how local schemes use volunteer feedback to make change and ensure that police custody is safe and dignified for all.”