Find out from our volunteers why they chose to become Independent Custody visitors.
Why did you want to be a volunteer?
When I retired, I wanted to remain mentally active and be involved in something different from the work I had done in my career.
I also recognised that interaction with people had been an important and enjoyable feature in my life and volunteering presented an opportunity for me to maintain this.
Why did you want to volunteer as an Independent Custody Visitor?
The ICV role involves dealing with people who are in custody and in many cases have complex lives and personal difficulties. In addition, the interaction with the Police and Detention Officers requires good communication skills, tact and resilience. I believe that I have developed through professional, and life experiences the ability to deal with such challenging situations. This was an opportunity to use those skills and experiences.
What do you like most about the ICV role?
You never complete the ICV role alone. The team of 12 volunteers visit each of the Custody Suite locations – Runcorn, Middlewich and Blacon. Each of these volunteers come from different backgrounds, and this mix of experience results rewarding and enjoyable interaction experiences with people.
Visits are always carried out in pairs on a rota basis resulting in visits with different people. Visits can be arranged at the ICV’s convenience and typically take an hour to complete. So it is not time consuming. Initial training is provided and additional training is provided if and when needed. I have always found that working in pairs to be a positive experience with that help and support of a partner.
On a personal level, the interaction with detainees gives me a sense of satisfaction in that I may have helped someone deal with, the most traumatic experience in their lives.
The assurance given to the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Police from my observations is also a positive aspect from a personal satisfaction perspective.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of becoming a volunteer and applying for this role?
This is a great opportunity to do something different, interesting and rewarding. If you work, it will give you a change from the day to day work. If you don’t work it will provide an activity to enhance your life, using your valuable skills and experience. I would encourage anyone to give it a try!