Merseyside’s Police Commissioner joins Independent Custody Visiting Association board

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner has joined the board of a national association which works to support the volunteers who check on the rights, wellbeing and dignity of detainees held in police custody.

Emily Spurrell has become a director of the Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) board less than a week after being appointed to lead on the national Mental Health and Custody portfolio on behalf of all Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs).

ICVA is an independent organisation funded by the Home Office and PCCs to promote, support and represent Independent Custody Visiting schemes across England and Wales. These important schemes, which are delivered locally by PCCs, see local volunteers make unannounced visits to police custody to check on the right, entitlements, wellbeing and dignity of detainees.

Volunteers then report back to their local PCC, who in turn holds the Chief Constable to account about any issues they raise.

ICVA also plays a key role in driving change in the way detainees are held at a national level.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said, “I was delighted to be appointed to help lead on the Mental Health and Custody portfolio on behalf of all PCCs at the Association of PCCs AGM last week.

“A crucial way that PCCs monitor and drive improvements in the custody process is through oversight of their local Independent Custody Visiting scheme. That’s why I am delighted to have joined the ICVA board of directors.

“ICVA plays a vital role in supporting these schemes, ensuring volunteers get the best possible training, and driving standards and improvements at a national level.

“People who are detained in police custody are potentially vulnerable and visits by ICV volunteers are a key protection for them, ensuring their legal entitles and rights are respected and they are treated with dignity.

“Taking on this role will help me to be involved in the conversation about detainee care on a national level and, as a result, will enable me to bring learning and best practice to our region to ensure we deliver the best possible service here in Merseyside.”

Martyn Underhill, ICVA Chair stated, “We are delighted that Emily has joined the ICVA board, in both her role as a Police and Crime Commissioner and as an APCC portfolio lead for Mental Health and Custody.

“The ICVA board and the APCC work closely together and Emily joining the Board will help strengthen and maintain this important bond to ensure that detainee wellbeing, dignity, rights and entitlements are at the forefront of work by PCCs, ICVA and the police.”

Find out more about the work of ICVA

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