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Norfolk's Independent Advisory Group hosts Annual General Meeting

Members of Norfolk’s Independent Advisory Group held their Annual General Meeting yesterday evening.

Due to the current conditions the meeting was held virtually and accompanying IAG members were officers from Norfolk Constabulary, colleagues from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN) and members of the public.

A number of local groups and organisations were also in attendance including The Waterways Chaplaincy, the PCC's Youth Commission, West Norfolk and King's Lynn Islamic Association, Equal Lives, About With Friends and members of the Norfolk trans and LGBTQI+ community.

Opening the event Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Lorne Green described how the IAG had played an “integral part” in improving the quality of policing for the communities of Norfolk for more than a decade.

“Working together in partnership is essential to keeping Norfolk a safe place for everyone and, in my opinion, a vital partnership is the one between our police and communities,” said Lorne.

“The IAG is one example of the police and public partnership in action, a pledge I made during my election campaign. I have continued to support and drive this police and public partnership through the IAG and my direct engagement with members of public across Norfolk. 

“IAG members provide independent advice based upon their own views, experiences and community insight; in doing so IAG members are improving the policing service delivered to every man, woman and child in our county.

The PCC praised IAG members for the work they had been during the Covid pandemic to understand the true impact of the virus on Norfolk’s communities to better inform the way the county is policed.

“The value and worth of IAG is even more apparent giving the current situation we find ourselves living and working in,” added Lorne.

“The commitment of IAG members during this difficult time has ensured that all communities across Norfolk can continue to have their say on important policing matters.” 

Attendees heard how over the past year the IAG had been involved in providing the police with independent advice on developing plans, policies and procedures in turn continuing to help the constabulary reach out and work with a variety of the Norfolk communities including those who are often under-represented.

With the rise of the Black Lives Matters movement over the summer of 2020 the meeting also heard how IAG have played a “fundamental role” in ensuring that the police are listening to the concerns of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community.

The Commissioner also expressed his gratitude to IAG Chair Les Rowlands and Vice-Chair Samantha England for developing a working relationship with the Norfolk Equality and Human Rights Council (NEHRC), by attending the ‘Stand in our Shoes’ event in September.

“During my time as Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner I have enjoyed working with the Norfolk Independent Advisory Group,” said Lorne.

“The value of this group is fundamental to ensuring that Norfolk Constabulary remains open, transparent and community focused. 

“As I come to the end of my term I wish all members the best of luck in their continued efforts to ensure that community is an integral part of Norfolk policing. 

“I want to offer my sincere thanks to the IAG members for their continued support of policing in Norfolk, especially in these exceptional times and I look forward to working with you in the final months of my term of office.”

During the meeting Les Rowland and Samantha England were once again voted in as Chair and Vice-Chair for the coming year.

“Throughout this difficult year of 2020 the relationship between IAG and the constabulary has continued to develop and thrive and I would like to thank the constabulary for its commitment to the IAG,” said Mr Rowlands.

The meeting heard from Assistant Chief Constable Nick Davison, who gave an overview of the work of the constabulary over the past year in areas including, the Covid-19 pandemic, domestic abuse, child sexual abuse, County Lines and exploitation of the vulnerable, the growth of cyber-crime and fraud offences and increasing calls for the 999 service.

Following the meeting Fay Crangle the PCC’s Engagement Officer, hosted a special question and answer event with members of the public.

Questions were raised around officer numbers, the impact of the Neighbourhood Watch scheme in the county, youth offending and the impact of Covid on young people, potential hate crime involving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community (LGBT) or connected to Brexit and diversity in policing.

IAG is a group of local residents from different community backgrounds who work alongside the OPCCN and Norfolk Constabulary 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 and major incidents and policies and procedures.

Read the minutes of the meeting

The IAG is due to publish its Annual Report for 2020 later this month.