Custody Visiting

The Police and Crime Commissioner is responsible for maintaining a Custody Visiting service that checks to see that detainees in police facilities are being well treated. There are are currently over 100 Custody Visitors in the West Midlands.  

The aim of custody visiting is to promote public confidence in policing by ensuring that policing activity is more publicly accessible, more easily scrutinised and subject to greater questioning and comment.

Between 1st April 2014 and 31st March 2015 our independent community representatives have:

  • Made 476 unannounced visits to the 10 operational custody sites within the West Midlands.
  • Privately interviewed 1910 of the available 2505 detainees present about their detention and treatment whilst at the custody site.
  • Spent over  373 hours independently reviewing custody,  safeguarding both detainees and police.

The overall feedback from custody visitors is that custody conditions are safe and fair.

The Commissioner is required to publish quarterly reports with information on the operation of the arrangements.  View these by following the "Custody Visiting Operational Reports" link.

What is Custody Visiting?

The aim of custody visiting is to promote public confidence in policing by ensuring that policing activity is more publicly accessible, more easily scrutinised and subject to greater questioning and comment.

In what used to be a closed operational area of policing work, it is important that the public have faith in the integrity of police officers. We all want the reassurance of knowing that if a close friend or relative of our own were to be detained, someone independent has made checks to ensure their welfare is protected.

Pairs of trained custody visitors make random unannounced checks to custody units in their area. After talking to detainees and observing the operation of the custody suites, custody visitors must write a report so that the Police and Crime Commissioner and the officer in charge of the Community Justice and Custody Department can follow up any required actions.

We study both the reports and the responses to make sure the scheme is meeting its objectives. We also monitor the whole Scheme to identify any trends and to produce quarterly and annual statistics.