Police looking for custody visitors

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Volunteers are being sought to visit people being kept in custody by the police in Northamptonshire.

Independent custody visitors are volunteers who visit people in custody to check on their welfare, that they are receiving their rights and entitlements and that the conditions they are being held in are satisfactory.

Richard Munro has been volunteering as an independent custody visitor for the past 22 years.

He said: “It’s important that communities have confidence in their local police service and we help provide this community oversight.

“Often detainees are anxious about the situation they’re in and having someone completely separate from the police visit them in their cell helps reassure them.”

The volunteers always visit in pairs and follow a rota which means they carry out a minimum of one visit every two months.

They can choose to visit either the custody suite in Corby Police Station or the Criminal Justice Centre in Brackmills, Northampton.

Detainees are asked a number of questions relating to their welfare and are asked for consent for a volunteer to view their custody records to check everything is being processed and recorded properly.

A training programme is provided for all volunteers and regular meetings are held so they get the opportunity to talk about any issues or concerns.

Alexa Daly, from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Northamptonshire, said: “Independent custody visitors play a vital role in raising standards of custody and the treatment of detainees.

“We’re looking for people to join the scheme who live or work in Northamptonshire and are aged 18 or above. It’s essential that anyone interested is able to be impartial, objective and non-judgemental, as well as being able to communicate effectively with people from a variety of different backgrounds.”

The deadline for applications is Friday, March 14.

For more information or to request an application form, contact Alexa Daly by emailing alexa.daly@northantspcc.police.uk or call 101, extension 343742.