South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner

Independent Custody Visiting Scheme

Independent Custody Visiting is a statutory scheme in which volunteers visit police custody suites unannounced, at any time of the day or night to check on the treatment of detainees and the conditions in which they are held. With around 40,000 people held in police custody in South Wales every year, it is important to ensure that their legal rights are protected.

The Police and Crime Commissioner is responsible, in consultation with the Chief Constable for ensuring there is an effective Independent Custody Visiting Scheme in place across South Wales

Custody Visitors

We currently have over 30 visitors in South Wales split into two panel areas:

The East Panel covering Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf and the Vale of Glamorgan and visiting the custody suites at Cardiff Bay and Merthyr Tydfil

The West Panel covering Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea and visiting the custody suites at Bridgend and Swansea.

What do Custody Visitors do?

Pairs of volunteers arrive at police custody suites unannounced and are given immediate access to the custody area. They check on the conditions of the cells and custody suite and speak to detainees, with their permission, to ensure that their rights and entitlements have been met. Visitors complete a written report after each visit to provide a record of their observations and any concerns.

Any problems are resolved with the Custody Sergeant at the time of the visit and/or are reported to the Commissioner’s team and discussed at quarterly panel meetings.

Visitors are not concerned with why detainees are in custody or their identity and must respect confidentiality at all times.