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.

They visit:

  • 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┬ácontractors;
  • prisons to observe the handover of Detained Persons from prison to the contractors and┬ávice 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.