Figures published today by the Northern Ireland Policing Board show that between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015, 726 unannounced visits were made to Police Custody Suites across Northern Ireland as part of the Independent Custody Visiting Scheme.
Speaking about the Scheme, Board Chair Anne Connolly said:
“Administered by the Board, this Scheme allows for volunteers from the community to make unannounced visits to police stations to check on the rights of detainees being held there, their health and wellbeing and the conditions of detention. The 41 Custody Visitors then report their findings to the Board and figures are published annually.
Latest figures show that during the last year, 705 of the visits were deemed valid, 91% (640) of which were found to be entirely satisfactory by the Custody Visitors. However, Visitors considered 9% of the visits (65) as unsatisfactory citing various problems such as faulty equipment, lighting and sanitation. Where such concerns have been identified, they are raised with PSNI who must advise the Board of action taken to remedy them.”
She added: “As a Board we are extremely grateful to our volunteers who give up their time to bring independent community oversight to police custody arrangements. It is the enthusiasm and commitment of these volunteers that make the Scheme so successful and, on behalf of the Board, I would like to thank them for all their hard work and dedication.”
For any further information please contact the Policing Board Communications Office on 07801738795.
Notes to Editors
The Northern Ireland Independent Custody Visiting Scheme was first established in 1991 and was made statutory in 2001 under Section 73 of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000.
The Board appoints the Custody Visitors and administers the Scheme. Its Performance Committee considers the Custody Visiting Reports on visits made every quarter. The Board also delivers training and policy updates and monitors the delivery of the Scheme.
The Custody Visiting Annual Report and a full statistical breakdown of Custody Visits carried out at each Suite in 2014/2015 can be accessed on the Board’s website at: