The Police & Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger and the police are seeking the views of diverse communities from across Cleveland on how best to involve local people in policing through the Force’s Independent Advisory Groups (IAGs).
IAGs are a national initiative, which were introduced following the report into the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in London, where the Metropolitan Police Service was criticised for losing contact with communities, particularly black communities.
The groups aim to be a reflection of local people, including a wide range of minority groups that are sometimes described as ‘harder to hear’, and act as critical friends in providing advice to the police.
Within Cleveland, the Strategic IAG (SIAG) was established to help Cleveland Police achieve its aims of providing all communities with a voice and a link to police managers and the executive officers.
The group has been in place for some time but is looking for fresh ideas as to how best to link Cleveland Police in with the needs and views of local communities from all areas of Cleveland.
In view of this, a questionnaire has been put together asking for suggestions as to both how meetings are conducted, and what topics should be on the future agenda. The results of this questionnaire will be used to develop the agenda for a communities conference to be hosted later in the year by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger.
Mr Coppinger said: "Through my ‘Your Force Your Voice’ initiative I have visited over 270 community meetings and groups across Cleveland and am committed to ensuring that the views of all communities are listened to in shaping the future direction of policing in Cleveland.
"Groups like the SIAG are crucial in maintaining the link between the police and community, and ensuring that the police exists to both protect and serve the local community. Policing by consent has always been the fundamental principle governing the way we police in our country, and crucial to maintaining this consent is ensuring that communities feel the police listen to and act upon their concerns."
Assistant Chief Constable Simon Nickless added: "A real strength of our communities is their diversity and it is important for policing that we both talk to and listen to their different needs and also act upon them. Independent advisory groups have played a critical part over the years in challenging and supporting police activities - which has led to improved services. I would encourage people to have a say and to get involved so that we can continue to do this."
Shahda Khan SIAG Chair, added "IAGs have a vital role in ensuring that the experiences and concerns of all our communities are taken into account. IAGs can act as a safeguard against disadvantaging any section of our communities through lack of understanding, ignorance or mistaken belief. We need active, interested people from a wide range of backgrounds to be involved in IAGs."
Posted on Wednesday 10th June 2015