Leicestershire’s independent custody volunteers have received high praise from the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach after earning their third consecutive Investing in Volunteers award.
The Commissioner’s Independent Custody Visiting Scheme was inspected earlier this year by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. The resulting highly positive report praised the support and development opportunities volunteers are offered through the statutory volunteering scheme.
Volunteers were invited to celebrate the achievement at an event attended by the Commissioner, whose Office is responsible for the scheme and its work.
The Investors in Volunteers award is the gold standard for organisations who work with volunteers, highlighting excellence across a wide spectrum of industries and services. To achieve the award, schemes have to meet nine indicators and 46 practices across the four areas of volunteer management.
Willy Bach said: “I’m immensely proud of our ICV scheme and the contribution of all our volunteers for providing such an important service which helps to ensure that custody conditions and processes in Leicestershire are as effective as possible.
“This award is testament to their dedication and provides further reassurance that this scheme really is working in the best interests of both detainees and the public. and that those who choose to volunteer for the service receive the best support and encouragement available.
“What is especially pleasing is that this award represents our third Investors in Volunteers award, highlighting our sound approach to the processes and procedures which ensure the scheme is delivered so well. Volunteers are of course absolutely pivotal in helping us to develop of the scheme. I am so grateful to them for all that they do.”
ICVs pay unannounced visits to the force’s main custody centres at Beaumont Leys, Keyham Lane and Euston Street to monitor the standard of facilities and the wellbeing of those detained in police custody.
To ensure inspections remain unpredictable and irregular, the visits take place at any time on any day of the week throughout the year.
As part of its recent inspection, the Investors in Volunteers assessor interviewed a number of individuals including volunteers, Scheme Manager, staff members and the PCC.
The scheme was praised for the way in which volunteers are appreciated for their flexibility and willingness and their understanding of the importance of their role. The way in which volunteer involvement is regularly reviewed through staff team meetings and volunteer team meetings was commended, including the communication of any changes to policies and procedures.
Elsewhere, the scheme was praised for the diversity of the volunteer team, which is broadly reflective of the local community, and the efforts it employs to provide equal opportunities.
It was also singled out for its commitment to protecting volunteers from physical, financial and emotional harm through the role, with thorough risk assessment procedures in place, and the opportunities available for continued learning and training. All volunteers said they felt very well protected in their role.