Volunteers are being sought to make unannounced visits to custody centres to check on the welfare of detainees. Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne is looking for new Independent Custody Visitors across the county.
Up to 70 trained volunteers support the scheme across the county and give up their time to ensure that the rights of people detained by Sussex Police are upheld. Representatives are recruited to visit the six police custody centres in Sussex: Brighton, Chichester, Crawley, Eastbourne, Hastings and Worthing.
“A friendly, reassuring conversation between someone in custody and an Independent Custody Visitor will often result in a more positive experience for the detainee at a time when they are at their most vulnerable. Sometimes the offer of a hot drink, reading material or just the reassurance that somebody has been contacted on their behalf goes a long way,” says Mrs Bourne. “My Independent Custody Visiting scheme promotes fair treatment for people in police custody, making sure that any issues relating to individuals or the custody environment are addressed appropriately.”
Some volunteers also view public place CCTV cameras managed by the police to make sure the operation of the system meets relevant legislation and adheres to the codes of practice. This independent scrutiny provides vital reassurance to the public and both these roles show how Sussex residents can make a difference to their communities.
To find out more about becoming an Independent Custody Visitor, please visit www.sussex-pcc.gov.uk/get-involved/volunteer
Watch a short video of several Independent Custody Visitors talking about what inspires them to lend a hand at the beginning of the page.