Q107: How do I become an Independent Custody Visitor at a police station and what do they do?
Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) were formerly known as lay visitors. To become an ICV you need to apply to the Scottish police authority. You need to be aged over 18 and not work for the Police Service or in the Criminal Justice System or in any role where a conflict of interest may arise (i.e. a solicitor). You also need a good command of the English language (all paperwork in cell areas is written in English). If you are successful you will be given the relevant training for the role. ICVs are volunteers but do get reimbursed for their expenses.
The principal role of the ICV is to visit detained persons in police custody and speak to them about the treatment they are receiving from the police and to check that they have had all their rights and entitlements. The detained person is under no obligation to speak to ICVs, it is purely a personal choice. The ICVs can also check a detained person's custody record, irrespective of whether they have spoken to that person.