Video-link technology used to check on welfare of Shropshire detainees

Video-link technology is being used to re-introduce a scheme to check on the welfare of detainees in Shropshire police cells.

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion says by adapting its working practices, the independent custody visitor scheme can still run, with visitors working remotely.

Custody checks are undertaken by volunteer visitors and include ensuring that detainees have adequate access to hygiene facilities, bedding, blankets and PPE for visitors.

The commissioner also monitors whether physical and mental healthcare needs are being met during a person’s time in custody.

Volunteers from the PCC’s independent custody visitor scheme are now able to schedule in appointments with detainees, which means they are able to speak to them, along with custody staff via a three-way link.

The video calls enable social distancing, while maintaining the contact the volunteers have with those in custody.

Mr Campion said: “Communities, rightly, want to be reassured that when a person is detained in custody, they will be kept safe and their welfare needs will be met.

"Being detained in custody does not, after all, mean a person is guilty of a crime.

“It’s incredibly important that, despite the current climate of social distancing, we find ways to maintain the high standards of assurance that have been set by the independent custody visitor scheme.

“We have seen an unprecedented use of video technology during the pandemic and it’s right that we use this to our best advantage to ensure that detainees are safe in custody and for providing transparency and confidence in policing.”

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