Independent Advisory Groups (IAGs) are made up of trusted individuals who are prepared to listen to, observe and comment on the equality and diversity activities and policies of West Mercia Police. The groups offer impartial advice to the police on a range of different subjects and are made up of members of the public from local communities, who meet regularly meet up every two or three months to discuss hot topics.
As well as local IAGs in West Mercia, there are three protected characteristic groups that offer specialist advice and guidance to police on diverse issues and the effects on their communities:
Black and Minority Ethnic IAG
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender IAG
IAGs continue to provide valuable support to West Mercia Police, as well as ongoing involvement in our policy reviews. We engage our IAGs on a number of issues, facilitated by our Equality and Diversity Advisor and Safer Neighbourhood Teams. Agendas for each meeting are agreed in advance, with actions for police and IAG members.
The advice and support from the IAGs following a critical incident is very important, as we can not only reassure the community but also gain a richer picture. By engaging with and involving our IAGs at the earliest opportunity, we have prevented increased community tensions by demonstrating an open and transparent dialogue with our communities.
The aim of each group is:
To provide advice and constructive criticism to the forces, whilst remaining sensitive to the needs of the whole community
To provide independent advice to West Mercia Police, to help recognise diverse needs of the communities served and to deliver a fair and impartial service that secures greater trust and confidence.
What have IAGs achieved?
IAGs have been integral in providing advice and guidance to the police in many areas, including:
Critical and major incidents
Use of firearms and Tasers
Stop and search
Community relations and engagement
Equality and diversity issues
West Mercia Police is now recruiting new members in your area. We need your valuable input to help shape and impact local policing. Any member of the community is welcome to join their local IAG groups where they work, live or support somebody. If you would like to join, all we ask is that you have an interest in policing and would like to share opinions and advice on policing matters.
Penny is a critical friend to West Mercia Police, offering advice and guidance on a range of issues. She has done this by volunteering some time to become an IAG member. Penny has an interest in equality and diversity and has joined the LGBT IAG, where she is able to offer more specialised advice to the police on more sensitive issues. Take a look at what Penny had to say about the rewards and benefits of being an IAG member, or watch this video of the Chief Constable of West Mercia Police talk about the merits of becoming an IAG member.