The Northern Ireland Policing Board today published the annual Independent Custody Visiting Report.
An official statistics publication, covering 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023, this statistical report details the number of visits made to custody suites in Northern Ireland by independent Custody Visitors (ICVs). ICVs cover both custody suites and serious crime suites.
The report includes matters raised by detainees or custody visitors regarding facilities, conditions of detention, treatment and welfare of detainees in both custody suites and serious crime suites.
ICVs are volunteers from across the community and are independent of the police and criminal justice system.
- There were 29 Custody Visitors at 31 March 2023.
- They made 489 visits to custody suites in Northern Ireland.
- 1,136 detainees were selected for interview and 549 were visited.
- 18 detainees refused to be interviewed.
- The most frequent reason for detainees not being visited was that they were asleep (60.2%) or being interviewed (15.3%).
- The most frequent welfare matter, which was raised on 34 occasions, was in relation to medical attention. This includes where detainees are waiting to see a healthcare professional or waiting for medication to arrive. Custody visitors check requests have been made to custody staff but do not wait for medication or healthcare professionals to arrive.
- There were three allegations of concern expressed to ICVs during the year. These allegations included concerns raised about excessive handling by the arresting officer, use of force in detention and allegation of sexual assault by a custody officer.
- Issues of conditions of detentions raised by detainees or by ICVs were mainly in relation general maintenance and faulty equipment (32 out of 53 instances). The remaining concerns raised related to cleanliness, heating/lighting and condition of medical rooms/health equipment. Three safety/security hazards were reported during the year, and included unsecured chairs in interview rooms, and a monitor left on the floor. There was one instance where the detainee was in possession of a lighter and had been smoking in the cell. This instance was followed up by custody staff in relation to detainee transport.
- 960 custody records were checked during the year.
For any further information please contact the Policing Board’s Communications Office on 028 9040 8500.
Notes for Editors:
- Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) make unannounced visits to police custody suites where they inspect and report on the rights, health and wellbeing and conditions of people being detained in custody, either by conversing with them and/or checking custody records.
ICVs are divided into three Custody Visiting Teams and cover custody suites allocated to them based on the team’s geographical remit. However, there are occasions when a team member/s may visit detainees in a custody suite outside of their regular team-area. The three teams and custody suites are as follows;
- North-West: Coleraine, Strand Road and Strabane
- South-East: Antrim, which is also used as a contingency Serious Crime Suite (SCS), Banbridge, Bangor, Musgrave and Musgrave SCS
- Tyrone-Fermanagh: Dungannon, Lurgan and Omagh
ICVs carry out visits to check on the rights and entitlements of the detainee, their health and wellbeing and the conditions and facilities of detention.
A copy of the report can be found here: