What we do

An overview of our role within independent custody visiting

Our role in independent custody visiting

ICVA is a Home Office funded organisation set up to promote and support the effective provision of custody visiting nationally. A national resource on custody visiting, ICVA works closely with government and criminal justice organisations to:

  • Raise public awareness on the rights , entitlements, health and wellbeing of people held in police custody
  • Advise on best practice for independent custody visiting schemes nationally
  • Provide training, publicity and support to Police and Crime Commissioners and ICVs.

For ICVs

ICVA values and respects the work of independent custody visitors, who play a vital role in raising standards of custody and the treatment of detainees. It provides support to ICVs right across the UK, from initial training to regional and national conferences and publications, keeping them up to speed on latest policies and sharing best practice. ICVA liaises directly with ICVs regularly and encourages their direct feedback in the form of queries, concerns or suggestions relating to custody visiting.

For those in custody

ICVA plays an active role in promoting fair treatment for people in police custody to ensure that the wellbeing of detainees is monitored locally and that issues relating to individuals or the custody environment are addressed appropriately. ICVA’s training scheme promotes prioritising the needs of the most vulnerable detainees.

For the Police Service

ICVA works with PCCs to enhance partnerships and provide a service that assists the police in the effective operation of schemes locally for all involved in the process. Specifically ICVA provides:

  • advice and support to those police officers responsible for facilitating custody visiting
  • assistance in ensuring that improvements suggested by the HMIC & HMIP Joint Inspections and action plans are monitored
  • a sounding board for issues relating to custody visiting
  • an advisory body for the police service to refer national issues.

Visiting Suspected Terrorist Detainees

ICV visits to suspected terrorist detainees are being extended across the UK following recent revisions to the ICV code of practice. ICVA was called on to develop a training programme to equip ICVs with an in-depth knowledge of the procedures involved in visits to TACT detainees. ICVs must have a minimum accreditation of 18 months before undergoing this training. Learn more

National Preventative Mechanism

Under the United Nations, ICVA is part of a co-ordinating body which appraises unannounced visits to places of detention, to investigate the treatment of people deprived of their liberty in the UK. As a National Preventative Mechanism (NPM), ICVA can provide advice on Memorandums of Understanding to ensure that volunteers are appropriately trained and supported in their role.


ICVA has developed a suite of materials and resources to provide a national training programme on:

  • Initial training for ICVs
  • Refresher training for ICVs
  • Leading the Way (Governance)
  • The A-Z of Custody Visiting (Scheme Administrators)
  • Back to Basics (Human Rights)
  • Training for Chairs

Its most recent training modules, launched in Spring 2013 are designed to support ICVs who visit vulnerable detainees, with DVDs and Student Workbooks focusing on:

  • Juvenile Detainees
  • Mental Health
  • TACT Detainees

Learn more about training