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Local people appointed to help scrutinise the police

New IRP Members (April 2015)

Linda Cunningham, Simon Barnes, Teresa Parker and Karen Robinson

Four more local people have been appointed to a panel which helps report on how well the police respond to complaints.

The Independent Residents' Panel meets at least four times a year and review complaint files to highlight good practice and improve trust and confidence in the police complaints procedure. The twelve panel members have been appointed by Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens as part of her commitment to invite local people to help her scrutinise the police.

Joining the panel are Karen Robinson from Burnham-on-Sea, Linda Cunningham from South Gloucestershire, Teresa Parker from Taunton and Simon Barnes from Bath. They were all appointed earlier this year and took part in their first panel complaints review session yesterday (Monday April 20th).

At each meeting the panel looks at a sample of complaints to the police on a particular theme, and consider whether they are dealt with appropriately, promptly and with the right tone. The Panel then reports to the Commissioner who will also receive a written response from Avon and Somerset Police’s Head of Professional Standards. In their review yesterday the Panel examined complaints on the theme of incivility.

Speaking about the experience, Simon Barnes said: “I applied to be on the panel because I have an interest in the work of the police and this looked like a fascinating role. The first session today was challenging as there was a lot to pick up around procedures. We were looking today at rudeness and the manner in which people were dealt with. Reviewing the complaints, I was surprised at how much information there was to scrutinise – a lot of work goes into investigating each complaint.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens added: “The police service belongs to us all and I’m glad that as the Commissioner I’ve been able to throw open the doors and invite local people in to help me scrutinise the Constabulary.

“If someone has made a complaint then they want the matter dealt with efficiently and the police’s response to be easy to understand – not full of jargon or legal details. It’s only then that the police can start to rebuild that person’s trust in the Constabulary. The Panel provide an outsider’s perspective and help the Constabulary to be as good as it can be dealing with complaints.”

The panel’s reports and the Constabulary’s responses are published online here within a few weeks of each meeting.

You can see more photos of the Independent Residents' Panel here.

Posted on Tuesday 21st April 2015
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