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A safer Town Centre in Newcastle, Gold Award to Staffordshire Independent Custody Visiting Scheme

Written by on 29 November 2023

Work to make Newcastle town centre feel safer day and night is paying dividends, according to a new report.

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s joint work with Staffordshire Police has resulted in improvements in instances of anti-social behaviour, robbery and general violence.

The results follow a series of initiatives including creating Public Space Protection Orders, police officers flooding the town centre on Friday and Saturday nights, and issuing 47 formal individual warnings and 26 community protection orders to troublemakers.

For the last 12 months, anti-social behaviour is reported to be down by a tenth, robbery down by 18 per cent and burglary of commercial premises by 12 per cent, while possession of weapons is down by 5 per cent, and general violence by 20 per cent – although cases of serious violence were up by 6 per cent.


The Staffordshire Commissioner’s Office has been recognised nationally for the very high quality of its independent custody visiting scheme.

Under the scheme, trained volunteers from the local community make regular unannounced visits to Police custody suites to check on the rights, entitlements, wellbeing and dignity of the detainees held there. Their findings are reported to the Police and Crime Commissioners who hold Chief Constables to account.

The Independent Custody Visiting Association which is the national membership organisation that supports, leads and represents these schemes – has developed a quality assurance framework to assess how well schemes comply with the code of practice that governs custody visiting.

The Staffordshire scheme was presented with a Gold quality assurance award by The Independent Custody Visiting Association this week at a ceremony in Birmingham.