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Four local groups responsible for advising and supporting Cleveland Police on topics such as stop and search, community relations and diversity are seeking new members.
Independent Advisory Groups or IAGs were established following a recommendation in the 1999 McPherson report into the death of teenager Stephen Lawrence, to help build positive relationships with communities.
The volunteer members act as a ‘critical friend’ to police, providing an independent insight into how policing activities may be perceived by diverse groups, who are usually under-represented in decision making.
Cleveland Police has five IAGs – an overall Strategic IAG which considers Force-wide issues and four local IAGs covering the boroughs of Hartlepool, Stockton, Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland.
The Force has chosen today – Stephen Lawrence Day – as an opportunity to launch a recruitment campaign for new members for the four local IAGs.
IAG volunteers will meet every two to three months, although special meetings may be called to discuss high-profile or emerging issues. Candidates would also need to go through a vetting procedure before they get started.
Chair of Cleveland Strategic IAG, Kulbir Peacock, said: Working alongside Cleveland Police, as the Chair of the SIAG I know that the leadership team and Cleveland Police staff are working hard to ensure that Stephen’s legacy is implemented and adhered to and that the SIAG work hard to hold the force to account to ensure this is the case.
“We must not forget Stephen and the tireless work that his parents, Doreen and Neville, have done to ensure that we all live in a more ‘just society’
“It is with this in mind that I would encourage people to become involved in their local IAG, make a positive difference not only to their community but to our police force.
“Your voice will be heard, you can make a difference if you become involved. There is strength in numbers, so join us, so we can give you strength and you give us strength. Together we will ensure our best society.”
Chief Constable Richard Lewis said: “Only when we listen to people from our local community do we truly understand the impact that we are having on the streets and in towns and villages.
“Our IAG members are a vital part of helping us to understand the impact of some of the decisions that we make, but also can tell us where we have got it wrong and give praise for when we have done the right thing.
“Never has it been more important in policing across the world to recognise the value of difference, and the recommendations from the McPherson report have helped to guide British policing for over twenty years.
“If you have thoughts on how we should be providing a service to your community or need the voice of your community raised and heard through policing, I would encourage you to consider joining your local IAG.”
Interested candidates can apply by sending a summary of no more than 200 words on your background, interests, community links and reasons for joining to [email protected].