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Volunteer visitors rewarded for 50 years in ‘crucial role’

March 12, 2014
TAHIRA MALIK: Reward for 11 years' service

TAHIRA MALIK: Reward for 11 years’ service

A TRAINING day turned into a celebration for five custody visitors – rewarded for clocking up for than half a century of service between them.

As Staffordshire’s deputy police and crime commissioner I presented Service Recognition Awards to Tahira Malik, Peter Allman, John Gary Hill, Margaret Redfearn and Allan Hartland at police HQ in Stafford.

The quintet of Independent Custody Visitors were joined by other colleagues from across the county on the annual refresher-training – learning a range of new topics including deaf awareness and how social media is helping to make the work of the ICVs more transparent.

PETER ALLMAN: Service Recognition Award for 13 years' service

PETER ALLMAN: Service Recognition Award for 13 years’ service

Volunteer ICVs are appointed by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to check on the well-being of people held in custody by Staffordshire Police. The 40 volunteers make regular, unannounced visits to custody sites throughout the year.

ICVs are a volunteer, unsalaried army of helpers appointed by the Office of the Police and Crime commissioner who check on the well-being of people held in custody by the police.

They work in pairs, carrying out inspections and monitoring the welfare of individuals detained in police cells. They are granted access to detainees – at any time of the day or night to make sure custody rules are being observed.

Volunteers play a huge part in society and local communities. Independent Custody Visitors are central to ensuring an open and transparent police service.

Roles of Independent Custody Visitors are crucial – not just to the people in custody, but also in promoting public confidence in the system which is essential to making Staffordshire safer.

It was a privilege to be involved in Saturday’s event which was a great success. While the training was both helpful and useful, it was a great honour to present Service Recognition Awards to five ICVs who really deserve them after years of selfless dedication.

JOHN GARY HILL: Award for five years' service as an ICV

JOHN GARY HILL: Award for five years’ service as an ICV

The awards follow hot on the heels of the retirement of unsung heroes George Beech, 88, and 75-year-old Ces Brown who have paid their last visit to a police custody suite – almost 20 years after starting their shift.

George and Ces – co-ordinators for the Burslem and Hanley panels respectively – were appointed at the same time, in March 1996, as ICVs for Staffordshire Police and signed off on the same night at a retirement celebration.

The OPCC has seen to it that new terminals with the National Strategy for Police Information Systems are placed at every custody suite – to enable all tasks can be completed on the computer.

MARGARET REDFEARN: High fives with a Service Recognition Award

MARGARET REDFEARN: High fives with a Service Recognition Award

ALLAN HARTLAND: Longest serving of the award winners with 19 years as an ICV

ALLAN HARTLAND: Longest serving of the award winners with 19 years as an ICV

I have initiated new procedures ensuring further efficiencies of the role of ICVs and custody sergeants, saving them around 388 hours – or nearly 50 days – per year.

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