Are you over 18 and looking to volunteer for something different? Then why not find out more about being an Independent Custody Visitor?

What is an Independent Custody Visitor?

Independent Custody visitors are members of the local community whose duty it is to visit Police Investigation Centres unannounced to check on the welfare of people who are in police custody. Their task is to observe, comment and report on these matters. There are two Police Investigation Centres in Suffolk – one in Bury St Edmunds and one at Martlesham, Ipswich.

Custody visitors assist the Police by helping to ensure that they are providing the service that is expected of them.

They can also help in the management of police performance by pointing out problems that may have occurred which could have implications on policy, training, communications or just the daily running of the Police Custody Centres.

Annual Report 2017/18

The Suffolk Independent Custody Visiting Scheme Annual Report 2017-18 (PDF, 2MB) summarises what the visitors have been doing over the last year.

How are Custody Visitors appointed?

To be an Independent Custody Visitor you are asked to complete an application form, and if your application is successful you will be invited to attend an interview.

If successful, you will be appointed and receive initial and on-going training in respect of legal and procedural matters. As a visitor you will be expected to visit a Police Investigations Centre approximately once a month along with another Independent Custody Visitor, as visits are always made in pairs.

At the end of each visit you must fill in a report form. Travelling expenses are paid to all Independent Custody Visitors.

‘Have you got what it takes?’ Information Leaflet (PDF, 494KB)
Independent Custody Visitors – Application Form (PDF, 40KB)
Role Profile (PDF, 164KB)
Person Specification 
(PDF, 151KB)
Monitoring Form
 (PDF, 40KB)

If you are interested in finding out if there are any vacancies for this role or would like more information, please Contact Us.

In addition, further information on independent custody visiting can also be found  on the Independent Custody Visiting Association website.

Inspections of Police Custody Facilities by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Service (HMICFRS) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) 

The latest report on the Joint Suffolk and Norfolk Inspection of Police CustodyInspectors spoke with custody visitors during the inspection period and we will be looking once again at what custody visitors can do to help the Constabularies as they work to address the recommendations.

The 2012 inspection report is also available – Joint Suffolk and Norfolk Inspection of Police Custody. Custody visitors from both counties were interviewed as part of this inspection and have assisted in following-up on some of the recommendations.

Annual Report on Custody Services

The Police and Crime Commissioner considers an Annual Report from the Constabulary on Custody Services – service delivery and performance at the October Accountability and Performance Panel Meeting.

Reprisals Policy

Should a detainee feel that they have suffered a reprisal having spoken to an independent custody visitor this should be raised within the complaints process as per see our Reprisals Policy (PDF, 168KB)