Detail of outcome
Summary of responses received to the Home Office consultation on the revised code of practice on independent custody visiting and the final code of practice (published March 2013).
This consultation ran from to
We sought seeking comments on a revised draft code of practice governing independent custody visiting (ICV) for England and Wales.
This consultation is now closed.
The consultation response has now been published.
We sought comments on a revised draft code of practice governing ICV for England and Wales.
The draft code of practice has been updated to reflect:
- arrangements and requirements (once the relevant legislation has been commenced) for independent custody visitors visiting suspected terrorist detainees
- recent changes to police accountability mechanisms, in particular the transfer of responsibility to provide ICV schemes from the now abolished police authorities to police and crime commissioners
- legislative changes since the code was last revised in early 2010, such as the coming into force of the Equality Act 2010.
Key changes to the draft code include new guidance on:
- training and selection for independent custody visitors who visit suspected terrorist detainees
- arrangements for independent custody visitors visiting terrorist suspects in detention
- procedures when independent custody visitors may request access to audio and video recording of interviews with suspected terrorist detainees
- new requirements for independent custody visitors who visit terrorist detainees to submit a report of their visit to the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation and the relevant police and crime commissioner.
Why did we ask for your comments on the revised draft code of practice?
On 26 January 2011, the Home Secretary announced the findings from the government’s review of counter-terrorism and security powers. One of the recommendations of the review was that section 117 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 should be commenced.
Section 117 of the act provides for important enhanced safeguards for terrorist suspects in police detention. Specifically, it provides additional independent oversight of terrorist detention by strengthening the role of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation in reporting on the treatment of those held pre-charge and by extending the statutory ICV scheme to terrorist detainees held under the Terrorism Act 2000.
In order for these powers to come into force, we are required to update the independent custody visiting code of practice as outlined in the Police Reform Act 2002. Subject to the outcome of the consultation we will seek to commence these powers in spring 2013.
Section 117 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, and section 51 of the Police Reform Act 2002 which it amends, both extend to England and Wales only. Therefore, the Code of Practice only applies to independent custody visitors visiting in England and Wales. However, we are continuing to work closely with key partners and the devolved administrations to ensure that a consistent approach is taken throughout the UK.
Independent custody visiting
Independent custody visitors are members of the community who work on a voluntary basis to make sure that detained people are being treated properly and have access to their rights. They are part of the UK’s national protective mechanism under the UN Convention Against Torture, along with HM Inspectorates of Constabulary and Prisons.
The Independent Custody Visitors Association is a voluntary organisation that promotes and supports the effective provision of custody visiting nationally, raising public awareness on the rights and entitlements, health and wellbeing of people held in police custody and the conditions and facilities in which they are kept.