HAVE you ever been intrigued to find out what goes on behind the scenes in police custody?

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens wants local people in Bridgwater to become Independent Custody Visitor volunteers.

As an ICV volunteer, you will be responsible for visiting police stations unannounced, checking on the welfare of those in police custody by talking to detained people and possibly viewing computerised records and CCTV to ensure detainee rights and entitlements are being observed.

If the ICV volunteers find any issues, these are raised initially with the officer in charge of the custody cells but the volunteers can, if appropriate, speak to more senior officers.

The ICV volunteer completes an electronic report of each visit and this is received by the PCC.

The PCC will check any issues raised by the ICV and may seek further information and clarification and further action may be taken.

The quarterly meetings are where ICV Volunteers get feedback about the general issues that are raised.

Mental health, faith and foreign language have been recent issues that were raised from observations made on recent visits.

PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “This is a great opportunity for someone who is looking for an exciting and rewarding local volunteering role in and around Bridgwater.

"We want to ensure the policing service is open and accountable to the people it serves.

“By gaining independent insight into police custody and reporting your findings, we can ensure policing is transparent and that local people have confidence in their police service.”

Volunteers management and policy officer, Kathryn Palmer, added: “Part of the initial training includes shadowing a more experienced custody visitor and a tour of the Custody Unit by a custody officer.

"There are additional discussions, updates and refresher training sessions at the quarterly panel meetings.”

To get involved you need to be 18 or over, live or work in the Avon and Somerset Constabulary area, and not had any direct involvement in the criminal justice system.

Independent Custody Visitors are expected to attend one visit a month and four meetings a year. Travel Expenses are paid and training is provided.

To find out more avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk/Take-Part/ICVs/Avon-and-Somersets-scheme.aspx

To apply for this volunteering role, email: pcc@avonandsomerset.pnn.police.uk.