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Volunteer as an independent custody visitor

Are you interested in welfare and human rights? Do you want to give something back to your community?

If your answer is yes then you could volunteer as an independent custody visitor.

Independent custody visitors are volunteer members of the local community who visit police stations to speak to detainees and to check on their treatment, the conditions in which they are being held and that their rights and entitlements are being observed.

What does an independent custody visitor do?
As an independent custody visitor you will arrange to visit police stations with another visitor. Volunteers always work in pairs.  The actual timing of visits is entirely a matter for you and your visiting partner but should be random and unannounced. You will normally only visit those police stations within your designated area.

What happens when independent custody visitors make a visit?
Independent custody visitors must maintain their independence and impartiality. You do not take sides but look, listen and report on what you find in the custody unit. On arrival at the police station, you’ll be escorted to the custody area. The detainees will be identified by their custody numbers and strict rules of confidentiality will apply. Your interview with the detainees is normally carried out within sight, but out of hearing of the escorting officer, for the protection of the independent custody visitors.  At the end of the visit you will complete a report form. This provides an insight into the running of the custody area at the time of the visit.

Is this for you?
The Scottish Police Authority is recruiting for volunteers now.  We are looking for people from a variety of backgrounds and sections of the community. You need to be over 18 and with no direct involvement in the criminal justice system.

No special skills are needed as full training and support is given, however you should be a good listener, non-judgemental, unprejudiced and impartial.  If this sounds like you and you can give a few hours of your time each month then we would like to hear from you.

If you are interested apply here.
Iain McKie

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Sincere thanks to all those who have supported Shirley and challenged miscarriages of justice on this forum.