MERSEYIDE'S police commissioner urging people to make a contribution to policing by volunteering to become independent custody visitors.

Jane Kennedy is looking to recruit more volunteers to be part of an important scheme through which independent members of the public check on welfare of people detained in police custody.

The programme was established following the investigation into the Brixton riots in 1981 and is now the responsibility of police and crime commissioners to operate in their respective areas across the country.

Under the scheme volunteers make random, unannounced visits of police cells to check on conditions and make sure those being held are being cared for appropriately.

It gives members of the public an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of Merseyside Police, while gaining a real insight into how an important police function is carried out.

A team of 20 volunteers currently give their time to the scheme, but the Commissioner is hoping to encourage up to 15 more people to join.

The volunteers visit the region's custody suites in pairs, at varied times of the night and day, throughout the year.

Once on site, they check on the welfare of those detained and the conditions within the suite and produce a report for the Police Commissioner.

They raise any issues directly with Merseyside Police.

During the coronavirus outbreak, these visits have been carried out virtually via video-link.

Jane Kennedy said: "By volunteering for this scheme, people can play their part in promoting the highest standards of policing.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for people who wish to make a contribution to policing and their community."

The ICV scheme in Merseyside has been in operation since April 1984, when 20 members of the public were trained as visitors.

Last year, Merseyside's ICV volunteers made 229 impromptu trips to custody suites in the region, offering to see just less than 3,000 detainees.

Volunteers must be over 18 years old and live or work in Merseyside. Full training will be given. It is expected volunteers will make one visit a month.

For more details, click on the following link:

The deadline for applications is 5pm on September 30.