POLICE and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings has issued an appeal to recruit more custody visitors in Barnsley tasked with making spot checks on prisoners held at the town’s police station.

Volunteers have been used for decades to monitor conditions in police custody suites across the county, calling unannounced to check on conditions and where appropriate to talk to those who have been arrested.

The scheme is operated through the office of the PCC and the reports submitted are used to help ensure good standards of prisoner welfare are maintained.

They are also available to government inspectors, when they carry out wider examinations of the force’s performance.

Custody visitors work in pairs and new volunteers would be teamed up with experienced visitors as they became involved in the role, said Dr Billings.

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“Volunteers are very dedicated to the work and give their time freely. It is interesting work and they find it fascinating, being inside a custody suite and seeing all human life passing through,” he said.

Dr Billings also meets with the team of volunteers around twice a year.

At present more are needed for the custody suite at the Churchfields police station in Barnsley, though applications to work across the county would be welcomed.

There are also opportunities for those involved to take on other responsibilities visiting the force’s dog and horse sections to monitor the welfare of those animals during their police careers.

More details are available through the PCC’s website https://southyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/