ICVA – Meet the Team – Part 1


January 20, 2020

Guest Blog

  • blogging
  • board of directors
  • Police and Crime Commissioner
  • social media

Martyn Underhill

Hiya, I am the Chair of ICVA and I live in Dorset with my wife Debbie, we live in a National Trust cottage with our various animals, including Ruby our barn owl. The location is stunning, overlooking the river Stour, and I am humbled to be “looking after” a 17th century cottage for the nation!

Prior to moving to Dorset, I was a police officer in Sussex and London, and I then became Dorset’s first ever Police and Crime Commissioner. My election as an Independent was mainly unexpected I must say, although I was truly humbled to be given the opportunity to represent the public. My “day job” involves three key things, all alluded to in the title. I hold the “Police” to account on behalf of the public, I join the dots between all of the criminal justice agencies as one of the “Crime” leads, and as a “Commissioner” I commission services for victims of crime. Dorset is a big place, and I travel a lot, the County is 1000 square miles, with 88 miles of coastline and roughly 800,000 people!

I joined the Board of ICVA in 2014, and quickly became the Chair, a position I have held ever since. It was a difficult time when I started, the team had a morale and ethos issue, and very outdated standards and procedures. It took 3 years to bring the organisation back on track, and the speed of change accelerated significantly when our CEO Katie joined us!

Our organisation has transformed beyond belief in the past few years, and is now a really respected and renowned team, that is listened to by Government and the Home Office. That is in no small part down to people like you, our custody visitors and scheme managers, so thank you from the Board!

I have recently announced I will not be seeking re-election in May, meaning I am going to leave you soon.

I am so proud of what custody visitors do, and so proud of ICVA, it will seem strange stepping down as Chair later this year but thank you already for what you all do!

Sarah Friend

Hi, I’m Sarah and I have been the ICV Scheme Manager in Sussex since 2017 and on the Board for ICVA since the latter part of 2019. I live in Storrington with my husband, two young sons and Daisy the dog, any spare time I have I am either running the boys to clubs, walking the dog or playing netball. I work part time, 28 hours per week and am fortunate to have the flexibility of working from any of the five Custody Suites, home or the office in Lewes. I have a PA if I work from home!

My week at work usually consists of attending meetings with Sussex Police Officers from the Assistant Chief Constable to the Inspectors who work in the suites and discussing feedback from the ICV visits, this can be anything from stock levels of food/sanitary items to suite refurbishments to data around detainees. I review every form that is submitted and collate the information so that themes can be identified and reported on.
I like to shadow visits with the ICVs, I’m more a hands on person so being out and about is great and it helps me to get a better over view of all 5 suites. My role is so varied which is why I enjoy it.

Reading down my to do list today it reads: Rotas, send 5 letters confirming interviews, prepare interview forms, email coordinators with updates, set CCTV panel meeting, review and enter new forms in, ICV expenses, print papers for Custody Safety and Legitimacy meetings, reply to all emails and finally write Blog for ICVA – I’m glad to say all but one done as the printer has broken down.

I was invited to be a Board Member following the Sussex ICV Schemes achievement of a Platinum Award last year. The Sussex Scheme worked hard to meet the criteria set from ICVA under the Quality Assurance Framework.

The reason I accepted the invite was really the same reason we worked towards the Platinum Award, I always strive to do the best in the role I am in and to make a difference. Differences have been made in Sussex, female hygiene products, cells updates, distraction objects to name but a few. I would like to think I offer the role and the Board my practical on the ground skills along with the enthusiasm to make changes and differences for the detainees welfare and treatment whilst is Police Custody. I’m on Twitter if you would like to follow what the Scheme is up to: https://twitter.com/SussexICV