Independent Custody Visitors


Section 51(1) of the Police Reform Act 2002 places the responsibility for organising and overseeing the delivery of independent custody visiting with Police and Crime Commissioners.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, has an Independent Custody Visiting scheme in place, whose aim it is to promote public confidence in policing by ensuring that policing activity is more publicly accessible, more easily scrutinised and subject to greater questioning and comment. 

80 Independent Custody Visitors currently visit sites across the West Midlands at Oldbury, Perry Barr, Wolverhampton, Solihull, Coventry and South Birmingham.  Some of them also visit Birmingham Airport to check on the welfare of those who have been detained.  In addition, 24 of our volunteers undertake the role of Appropriate Adult for vulnerable detainees. 

One of the seven themes within the Commissioner's Police and Crime Plan is 'Building Trust and Confidence in our Police'.   Custody visiting plays an integral part in working towards achieving this aim.  Mr Jamieson committed to "continue to promote the custody visiting and Appropriate Adult service to build public confidence in standards in custody". 

How does Custody Visiting work? 

Volunteers are members of the public over the age of 18 years, who live and/or work in the West Midlands.  Before they undertake any visits they are vetted and undertake some training. They work in pairs within a team and make unannounced visits to police custody sites to check the welfare of detainees and the environment in which they are being held. 

Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) write up a brief report on their visit and submit these to the Police and Crime Commissioner's office.  Each report has to be signed off by a Custody Sergeant at the end of the visit and any issues of concern must be raised with him / her at that time.  The Police and Crime Commissioner's office will follow up any necessary actions with the Criminal Justice Service. 

The time commitment for an ICV is approximately 2-3 hours per month, to carry out visits, plus attendance at quarterly panel (team) meetings and ad hoc training throughout the year.