Policing Board seeks Custody Visitors

12 January 2016

If you found yourself in police custody, wouldn’t you want someone to check on your welfare?

The Policing Board is currently looking for volunteers for its South/East and North/West teams to monitor how well people are treated in custody and if they are getting access to their rights and entitlements, such as access to medical requirements.

The Custody Visiting Scheme, operated by the Northern Ireland Policing Board, currently has 30 volunteers across Northern Ireland who work in teams to check what are known as Custody Suites in their local area.

Speaking about the role, Board Chair Anne Connolly said: “Custody Visitors work independently and voluntarily to ensure that those in custody get access to their rights in line with human rights principles. This means the Board gets an impartial picture of how people are dealt with in custody and helps fulfil one of our key accountability duties. The success of the scheme is as result of the commitment and enthusiasm of our volunteers and we are very thankful for that.”

Between 1st April 2014 and 31 March 2015, 24,377 people were detained in police custody in Northern Ireland on suspicion of having committed an offence. Over 700 visits across Northern Ireland were carried out by Custody Visitors and their findings can be found on the Policing Board’s website.

Mrs Connolly added: “Custody Visitors must be over 18 years old and, to enable the independence of the scheme, must have no direct involvement in the criminal justice system.”

If you are interested in the scheme, you have until 12 noon on the 29th January 2016 to make an application. You can get details on the Board’s website at www.nipolicingboard.org.uk or contact the Custody Visiting Scheme Administrator at 028 9040 8526 and custodyvisiting@nipolicingboard.org.uk

Ends

For further information, please contact the Policing Board’s Communications Office on 07801738795.

Notes to Editors

Custody (or Lay) Visiting was made statutory in Northern Ireland in April 2001 under Section 73 of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000.
The scheme operates across 3 areas: South East, Fermanagh/Tyrone and the North West. The Board is currently looking for volunteers from South East and North West areas only. Applications for the Fermanagh/Tyrone team are not required.

The North West team covers the following Custody Suites: Strand Road, Coleraine and Strabane.
The South East team covers the following Custody Suites: Banbridge, Lurgan, Musgrave (including Serious Crime Suite), Bangor and Antrim