Lay Observers are independent, unpaid, public appointees made by the Secretary of State for Justice under S.81(1)(b) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991. They have a duty to inspect the conditions in which Detained Persons are transported or held by escort and custody contractors in England and Wales.
- courts to confirm that Detained Persons are being treated decently, inspect conditions in custody areas, and inspect the vehicles used by the contractors;
- police stations to observe the handover of Detained Persons from the police to the contractors;
- prisons to observe the handover of Detained Persons from prison to the contractors and vice versa;
- prisons to observe Detained Persons escorted there from other prisons using the Inter Prison Transfer [IPT] contract and inspect the vehicles used by the contractor.
Lay Observers monitor against the expectations for detained persons
For all those in escort and court custody we expect:
- Detained Persons to be treated with dignity and respect, free from discrimination;
- access to justice for Detained Persons, with all being given information about their rights and having the ability to access legal advice;
- Detained Persons to be held in suitable accommodation that is clean safe and fit for purpose;
- Detained Persons to be transported promptly in suitable vehicles;
- transport and custody to be managed in a way that supports Detained Persons’ wellbeing;
- responsible people properly exercising their duty of care in relation to Detained Persons’ health and personal care needs.