News September 2010

September 2010

Bookings are now welcomed for the Association’s National Conference at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds on Saturday 13 November 2010.

Speaking of this year’s event, ICVA chair David Wood said:

“The conference will provide an opportunity for delegates to listen to keynote speakers and network with other custody visitors from across the country. We are delighted to confirm that our speaker line up includes: Jane Van Zyl from The Samaritans; Nicholas Long from IPCC; Sean Duggan from Sainsbury Trust; Alison Kilpatrick Human Rights Adviser; Northern Ireland Policing Board and Andrew Alexander from the Home Office.

“I look forward to meeting with visitors from around the country at what promises to be a very successful day.”

The closing date for receipt of booking forms is Wednesday 13th October 2010. Conference fees, travel and accommodation will be the responsibility of individual police and crime commissioners.

If you have any queries or would like to make a booking, please

West Midlands Conference

West Midlands independent custody visitors will get together for their regional conference on 2nd October at West Mercia Police Headquarters, Hindlip Hall. We will report back on this event in the next edition of Visiting Times.

MPA Reports Back

The Metropolitan Police Association has issued its 2009 Annual Report on the London Independent Custody Visiting Scheme.

As of December 2009, the MPA had 424 volunteers across London giving up their free time to provide independent scrutiny of the treatment of those held in police detention and the conditions in which they are held. Twenty-six years on from Lord Scarman’s report it is as important as ever that Londoners have confidence in the police. Independent custody visiting continues to be crucial in helping to build and maintain community confidence in this significant area of policing.

In his foreword to the report, Kit Malthouse, Chair of the Metropolitan Police and Crime Commissioners said:

“I would like to thank all our volunteers for their dedication and hard work throughout 2009. The MPA and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) appreciate the vital contribution they make to help improve the standard of custody provision in London.”

The report, which provides a general overview of custody visiting in the London area, can be read in full on the MPA website

ICVA to Launch ICV checklist

ICVA has devised a checklist highlighting key areas for ICVs to assess during detainee visits. Focusing primarily on the importance of ensuring that detainees are held in a dignified manner, in a clean and safe environment, it is hoped that the checklist will help provide greater consistency in the provision of visits nationally.

ICVA chief executive, Ian Smith OBE explained:

"The development of this checklist, formerly in a more basic format, was initially inspired by the fluctuating results of police custody inspections - and aims to address common areas of weakness. Divided into two areas, relating to the detainee and the custody suite, it provides prompts for questioning detainees and highlights key areas of assessment on the conditions and facilities of detention."

The new checklist will be officially launched at this year's annual conference in November.

London Custody Reports Revealed

Reports on custody suites in the London boroughs of Brent, Kensington & Chelsea and Greenwich have been announced as joint inspections continue.

Police custody in Brent was largely positive, but there were some issues about monitoring the use of force, facilitating complaints and health services, said Sir Denis O’Connor, Chief Inspector of Constabulary, and Nigel Newcomen, Deputy Chief Inspector of Prisons.

Police custody in Kensington and Chelsea was generally positive, but health care provision requires attention. This inspection covered the main custody suites in Chelsea and Notting Hill, as well as the part-time facility in Kensington. Overall, it found some good practice and some areas of excellence.

Police custody in Greenwich was generally positive, but there were some issues about health services and it was believed that management oversight could be developed further. The inspection covered the main custody suite in Plumstead and a part-time facility in Greenwich. Overall, it found some good practice and some areas of excellence.

These reports can be read in full here:

or on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at


We are delighted to announce that Stuart Nagler, Chair of Herts Police and Crime Commissioners has taken over the Observer role on the Executive Committee on behalf of the Association of police and crime commissioners (APA). We look forward to supporting Stuart in his new role and know that he hopes to meet many of you at the annual conference.