The Bexley Independent Custody Visitor Panel is a sham, as is the ICV scheme at large, giving the pretence of a monitoring and safeguarding facility, whereas in fact it is merely a stooge of the authorities to placate protest and bury issues.
Lord Scarman, worried that detainees were being abused in prison cells, and to ensure public confidence in detention gave recommendations that led to the ICV scheme.
Having suffered violence at the hands of the police myself and being abused while in custody, I joined the ICV scheme and worked as a volunteer for a number of years.
I was shocked by what I found.
The panel members had built up friendships with the police and were more concerned to socialise pleasantly with the staff than check on the welfare of the detainees. The conviviality between ICV's and the police meant that concerns raised were easily brushed off, explained away with a laugh or just ignored.
Mentally ill detainees, the vulnerable, women and children were passed over with cursory attention and their specific needs and problems overlooked or disregarded.
ICV members enjoyed their social visits to Sophies in Sidcup and to City Hall in London more than the work itself. Opportunities to mix with high ranking police officers flattered the panel members who were loathe to ruffle fearthers.
PACE requirements were not met routinely and failures were blamed on staffing levels and budgetary constraints. No effective quality control targets were in place, systems were forever changing and there was no consistent leadership or policy approach.
That a sick mentally ill girl of 16 was kept in a cell for two days without food and water is of no surprise to me.
I hope it hangs heavy on the consciences of all those ICV's whose complacency allows for such an outrage and all the MOPAC staff who value their salaries rather than the protection of innocent detainees, systematically abused within police cells across the Met.