Independent Advisory Group
The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report (1999) criticised the Metropolitan Police for its loss of contact with communities, particularly black communities, and recommended the involvement of local people in policing.
One response to the report was the establishment of the first IAG by the Met.
IAGs have since been created elsewhere across the country including in Norfolk.
IAGs been been acknowledged as good practice by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) for improving transparency and accountability.
In Norfolk, the Independent Advisory Group is a group of residents from different community backgrounds who are prepared to share their views and advice with the aim of improving the quality of policing services.
The group has a key role in helping to increase the public’s trust and confidence in the police, particularly amongst minority communities. They help with monitoring the quality of service the Constabulary provides to the diverse communities of Norfolk with particular emphasis on hate crime, critical/major incidents, policies and procedures, and Stop and Search.
Voluntary members of the IAG meet bi-monthly in the evening. These meetings are usually held at Police HQ in Wymondham and are supported by staff from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
These meetings are currently held virtually to allow social distancing.
Due to the confidential nature of some of the business discussed, these meetings are not open to the public with the exception of the Annual General Meeting held in December each year.
Norfolk's Independent Advisory Group
Samantha England is the Chair of Norfolk's IAG and below shares her thoughts on the value that IAG brings.
I am very pleased to represent and Chair Norfolk IAG, the group works closely with the police service to ensure their policy, policing and general practices meet the aims of their Equality, Diversity and Human Rights strategy. IAG also works to provide a safeguard against disadvantaging any section of our diverse communities through the lack of understanding, ignorance and mistaken belief by the service, as set out by the Stephen Lawrence enquiry recommendations.
We have a great team of people on IAG made up of residents from different backgrounds who work alongside Norfolk Constabulary to bring community-based perspectives and views to policing. IAG continues to be an integral part of improving the quality of policing for the communities of Norfolk
- IAG works with the constabulary to ensure that communities are feeling safe.
- IAG will advise on how the police can provide community reassurance and ensure they are delivering their continuously developing powers in an open and transparent way.
- IAG members have developed their relationship with their local police commanders, which resulted in a number of community police forums being set up throughout the county.
- IAG will continue to act as a critical friend to the Constabulary, particularly focusing on hate crime and working with the constabulary and communities in Norfolk to do what they can to ensure the residents of Norfolk feel safe and supported by their police force.
Meet Juels - Independent Advisory Group member
What made you decide to join?
I initially decided to join IAG because I became increasingly concerned about the rise in violence and harassment against women and girls. The IAG is an independent body of local members of the public and is a means for local people to hold the police constabulary to account. I wanted to be part of the civic conversation on how violence against women and girls can be reduced and to ensure their cases are handled empathetically and effectively, should they become a victim of violent or sexual crime.
What aspect of being an IAG member do you most enjoy?
The aspect of IAG I enjoy the most is the opportunity to make a real difference by working alongside the Norfolk Constabulary and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office to review strategy, policy and procedures that impact police interactions with the public. There’s a lot of scope to expand the role if you wish and since joining the IAG, I now sit on two case review panels for Rape, Sexual Assault and Hate Crime both for the Constabulary and the Crown Prosecution Service.
What would you say to someone considering membership of IAG?
Like many people my age, the police investigation and subsequent inquiry into the management of Stephen Lawrence’s murder case had a profound impact on me. It is an honour and a privilege to be part of a group set up in his name, whose sole purpose is to independently scrutinise and hold the Norfolk Constabulary to account. It is for these reasons I would recommend anyone, from any community group, join in the conversation and make their voices heard, and ensure their life experiences are represented.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The IAG would ideally be representative of the wider community it serves, but like many of the IAG committees around the country, the Norfolk IAG would benefit from greater diversity. It is crucial that all the citizens and diverse groups of Norfolk have a voice and that those voices have influence.
Specified Information Audit Report
Since 2014, CoPaCC, an independent organisation designed to compare Police and Crime Commissioners, has carried out annual assessments in order to judge whether the Office of Police and Crime Commissioners (OPCCs) fulfil their statutory obligations for transparency as required by The Order (also known as SIO) based on the information published on their websites.
Each year, the OPCCs who were judged as having reached a satisfactory standard were awarded the CoPaCC Open and Transparent Quality Mark. As of 2021 however, CoPaCC are no longer able to provide this service due to lack of funding.
With CoPaCC no longer carrying out their annual assessments, this left a gap in the independent scrutiny of the OPCCN. In order to rectify this, the OPCCN has created an annual auditing arrangement with members of the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) to ensure the office’s ongoing transparency. The Home Office will also carry out assessments of the SIOs nationally.
The diversity within the group and their knowledge of policing, whilst remaining independent residents of Norfolk, makes the IAG members ideal candidates for carrying out an independent assessment of the SIO on the behalf of the OPCCN.
IAG Annual Report 2020
Date: 2020-12-31 / PDF (2.3 MB)
Minutes from Independent Advisory Group's AGM - December 2020
Date: 2020-12-18 / PDF (442 KB)