Staffordshire Police are appealing to Lichfield residents to become custody visitors.

Independent Custody Visitors (ICV) call at Staffordshire Police custody sites across the county to check on the welfare of detainees.

Staffordshire Police Authority needs to enlist additional volunteers to join a team that covers the force’s Trent Valley division – which has police cells in Burton, Tamworth and Lichfield.

David Smedley, Trent Valley ICV panel co-ordinator, said:

“Custody Visitors are independent and work in pairs inspecting police cells, where they can speak to detainees, to make sure custody procedures are observed. They are fully trained before they start and follow a clearly laid-out code of conduct. Custody Visitors can make unannounced checks of police cells and the welfare of people in them at any time day or night.”

The Police Authority is responsible for recruiting visitors and seeks to ensure a balance of age, gender and ethnicity. Visitors’ findings are reported to the Police Authority and the Chief Constable.

Christina Jebb, Chair of Staffordshire Police Authority’s Custody Visitors Committee, said:

“It is essential that high standards are maintained at our police custody sites and Custody Visitors play a key role in ensuring this. We already have a dedicated team of over 70 volunteers across Staffordshire, and it’s really important that we attract additional local people onto the Trent Valley panel.”

Volunteers, who receive travel expenses, are expected to make a minimum of six to eight visits a year. They are assigned to an area and have regular meetings with a local co-ordinator.

For more information on becoming an ICV contact Staffordshire Police Authority on 01785 232245 or visit the Staffordshire Police website.

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