Association of Police and Crime Commissioners
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APCC Statement on National Volunteers Week

This year is the 40th anniversary of Volunteers’ Week, the annual celebration of those who give their time to help others.

To mark the start of Volunteers’ Week 2024 (3-9 June), the APCC joint lead on mental health and custody, Emily Spurrell, highlights the role of Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) whose scrutiny of the police is key to the public’s confidence in policing:

“Elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) have a statutory duty to arrange for detainees to be visited by ICVs. Their unannounced checks provide crucial independent scrutiny of custody to ensure those held are handled fairly, with dignity and in safe conditions. ICVs speak to detainees to check on their welfare and, where they believe action is necessary to better protect them, they report back to their local PCC.

“My thanks go to all those who play such an important part in supporting public transparency of the police and assist PCCs in holding their local forces to account. ICVs’ vital work is done behind the scenes, which is why it’s important to celebrate their achievements publicly. 

“I would also like to acknowledge the valuable work of the Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) in supporting ICV schemes, and generous contributions from those such as Animal Welfare Visitors, Special Constables, Police Support Volunteers, and youth volunteers.”

ICVA Chair, Dame Anne Owers, said:

"Every day, people are arrested and taken into police custody, out of sight of the rest of their community.  But, every week, local volunteers visit those hidden places, to check on the fair and humane treatment of those held there, particularly the most vulnerable: children, people with mental health and addiction issues.

"Our volunteers provide independent assurance: recognising and commending good practice as well as pointing out gaps and deficiencies. At a time of increased public concern about policing practice, their work has never been more important and necessary."


  • Emily Spurrell is the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside.


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