Reporting on Custody Visiting

13 June 2014

Custody Visitors across Northern Ireland have made 857 unannounced visits to people being held in police custody in the last year. The Custody Visiting Scheme, which is administered by the Policing Board, allows for volunteers to make unannounced visits to police stations to check on the rights, health and wellbeing and conditions of people held in custody. The Board’s 54 Custody Visitors then report their findings to the Board and figures are published annually.

Speaking about the 2013/14 report, Board Chair Anne Connolly said: “As part of our oversight role, it is important that we have ways of independently monitoring how people are being treated when they are held in custody. Custody Visitors play a vital role in visiting Custody Suites unannounced at any time of the day or night to get a clear picture of conditions and report their findings back to the Board.

During the last year, 836 of the visits were deemed valid, 95% of which were found to be entirely satisfactory by the Custody Visitors. However, Visitors considered 5% of the visits (44) as unsatisfactory citing problems relating to faulty equipment, lighting and sanitation.”

She added: “The Board is extremely proud of its Custody Visiting Scheme which would not function without the involvement, enthusiasm, commitment and dedication of our volunteers who provide an important contribution to the work of the Board by maintaining independent community oversight on police custody arrangements. On behalf of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, I would like to thank all the volunteer members of the Scheme for continuing to make it a success.”

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Forany 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 to each Suite in 2013/2014 can be accessed on the Board’s website at:

Notes to Editors ends.