Police urge public to become a ‘critical friend’ by joining advisory groups

8th June 2021, 4:20pm | By David |

Wiltshire Police are calling on members of the public to play an active role in shaping and informing policing in their area by joining their local Independent Advisory Group.

Independent Advisory Groups (IAGs) are made up of individuals who volunteer their time, their voice and their opinions as a ‘critical friend’ to the police.

Unlike other, more formal groups that offer advice and guidance to the police such as scrutiny panels, IAGs do not offer expert or specialist advice, but simply come together to share their individual and independent viewpoints.

In Wiltshire we have six IAGs split geographically across the county, aligned to local Community Policing Teams (CPTs) and one Diverse Communities IAG which covers the county:

  1. North IAG – Chippenham, Royal Wootton Bassett, Cricklade, Malmesbury, Calne, Corsham
  2. Swindon North IAG – Penhill, Pinehurst, Rodbourne, Rodbourne Cheney, Moredon, Gorsehill
  3. Swindon South IAG – Walcot, Parks, Swindon Town Centre
  4. Central IAG – Devizes, Westbury, Warminster, Marlborough, Mere, Tisbury
  5. South IAG – Salisbury, Amesbury, Tidworth, Wilton, Alderbury
  6. West IAG – Trowbridge, Bradford-on-Avon, Melksham
  7. Diverse Communities IAG – A particular focus on diversity and the protected characteristics as covered by the Equality Act 2000

IAG members constructively advise and challenge Wiltshire Police on policies, procedures and practices, offering advice on areas the Force could improve on to make policing better for all.

The volunteers come from all walks of life. They are not magistrates, politicians or other interested parties, but ordinary members of the public who want to make a contributions for the benefit of others.

Sergeant Tom Ellerby recently joined the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team said: “The IAGs and the volunteers who make up each group mean a lot to us. Their independent voice is incredibly valuable in helping us shape policing services and I can honestly say that since I have taken on my new role I have been approached by officers and staff from across the Force speaking so highly of the valuable contribution they make.”

We are inviting individuals to join our IAGs in Central Wiltshire, South Wiltshire, Swindon North, West Wiltshire, and our Diverse Communities IAG. We are looking for people who can give their time and their voice to challenge conventional thinking and give an independent perspective on issues.

Trowbridge Area Community Policing Team Inspector Gill Hughes said: ‘If you care for what happens in your area and have time to spare, please do consider getting involved in your local IAG. As a voice into your local policing team, you can help improve the view from the whole of the community with your independent input. For example, the recent introduction of the Dog watch scheme was an idea presented by a member of the Trowbridge team. In a very short time it was created for the whole force area and has rapidly been adopted across our neighbourhoods.”

Anton James Chair of the Swindon North IAG said: “I’ve met some interesting people, both in the public and the police. I have realised there has been a complete change in attitude on behalf of the police towards the public, they are friendly, easy to get on with and they do actually listen to what we discuss. I feel the IAG and our opinions are valued and listened to, otherwise I wouldn’t still be in the group after all this time.”

If you are thinking about volunteering please consider becoming a member of an IAG. This is your chance to contribute to the way Police work with the community you live in. As a member of an IAG, your input will help us to be more effective, to engage better with our public, and respond better to the needs of the community.

For more information about the role and how to apply visit the IAG page on the Wiltshire Police website

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