An independent voluntary scheme set up by Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex has won a prestigious national award.

Essex’s Custody Visiting Scheme received silver at the Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA*) Quality Assurance awards at the House of Lords on Wednesday, May 15.

ICVA is the national organisation which supports, leads and represents locally-run custody visiting schemes where teams of independent volunteers visit those detained in police custody.

Volunteers make unannounced visits to check on the rights, entitlements, well-being and dignity of detainees and report their findings to Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners.

Welcoming the award, Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex said: “We have an excellent group of volunteers who work hard to provide an independent assessment of the quality and safety of custody across Essex.

“As well as helping the custody teams at Essex Police maintain their high standards the Essex ICVs have also highlighted issues that have led to changes in the national standards.”

Last year volunteers made nearly 250 visits to custody suites across the county.

If you are interested in volunteering, you must be over 18 and independent of the criminal justice system to prevent possible conflicts of interest and to maintain the integrity of the scheme.

Find out more about the scheme in Essex and how you can volunteer here:

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