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Volunteers' visits keeping cells in check.

CUSTODY cells across South Wales have had some special visitors - but they've not committed a crime.

South Wales Police Authority's Independent Custody Visiting volunteers went to custody suites 477 times in 2010-11.

The 10 custody units have been inspected by volunteers to check on the welfare of the people held in custody and the conditions they are kept in.

In total, the 45 volunteers visited more than 850 people held in police detention between April 1, 2010, and March 31, 2011.

Checks are made on whether they have been treated well, received food and drinks, had medical attention where necessary and other legal rights.

South Wales Police Authority vice-chairman John Littlechild said: "With more than 50,000 people being detained in police custody in South Wales each year, it is essential that conditions are kept to a high standard. The visitors are there to make the police more accountable for their actions, and allow transparency and public scrutiny."

The visitors arrive at police stations unannounced, and are given immediate access to the custody area.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 30, 2011
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