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Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion has reinforced his commitment to the ongoing development of the Independent Custody Visitor’s (ICV) scheme, ensuring it has both the resources and resilience to be as effective as possible, despite the limitations imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Custody checks are vital to the maintenance of custody standards and ensuring the health, safety and welfare of those detained in custody. The checks are undertaken by volunteer visitors across West Mercia.

The checks include ensuring that detainees have adequate access to hygiene facilities, bedding, blankets and PPE for visitors, which is vital at this time. The PCC also monitors whether physical and mental healthcare needs are being met during a person’s time in custody.

Volunteers from the PCC’s Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) scheme are unable to perform their usual unannounced visits due to the requirement to socially distance. However, the team have been able to give reassurance to the PCC that the police are following the correct procedures around the detention and treatment of detainees, by maintaining checks with custody staff.

PCC John Campion said: “It’s incredibly important that, despite the current climate of social distancing, we find ways to maintain the high standards of assurance that have been set by the ICV scheme. The work of the volunteers is highly valued and I am always grateful for their contribution to West Mercia. Their visits are crucial to the safety of those held in custody and for providing transparency and confidence in policing.”

“There will be challenges, associated with Covid-19, for custody staff and it is about making sure that these challenges do not adversely impact on the welfare of those detained in custody.”

“I am reassured that West Mercia Police is meeting its performance requirements in relation to the standard of welfare, and that the right checks are in place to make sure we maintain that standard.”