PCC Matthew Ellis

Neighbourhood panels to hold police to account

People will influence policing in their communities and help hold local police commanders to account at the most local level through new independent panels set up by Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis.

The local Safer Neighbourhood Panels follow the success of the Ethics, Transparency and Audit Panel (ETAP). The ETAP was established as an overarching panel for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent as part of the Commissioner’s ambition to make policing in Staffordshire the most open, transparent and ethical in the country.

Pilot panels are being established in February in Cannock Chase, Staffordshire Moorlands and South Staffordshire after those councils successfully bid to become early adopters. Other panels are planned in the rest of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent over the coming months.

They will be made up of local residents, local councillors and magistrates and will meet regularly with their area’s local policing commander. The panels will influence local policing and community safety, scrutinise the work done by police in the area, give feedback to their community and examine the impact of community resolutions and restorative justice where they live.

Mr Ellis said: “Police in Staffordshire already undergo the toughest scrutiny ever through the independent ETAP which has shone the spotlight on key areas like crime recording and complements the rigorous performance management from my office.

“This approach will be extended through the first Safer Neighbourhood Panels which will see local people putting policing under the microscope in their communities.

“It will mean local people will play a part in holding all responsible for policing their area to account.

“The panels will act as a sounding board for how policing works and make communities better connected than at any time before.”

Panels will be co-ordinated by the local council in each area but have the freedom to decide how they operate according to local needs.

Chief Constable Jane Sawyers said: “We welcome the scrutiny of Staffordshire Police’s neighbourhood policing through the implementation of Safer Neighbourhood Panels.

“Through the Commissioner’s new panels we will be more open and accountable to local people than ever before and communities are encouraged to get involved to find out how we’re policing their local area.

“We’re always looking for new ways to be accessible in the communities we serve and these panels will allow local people to help shape how policing is delivered in their area.”

To find out more visit http://www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/eta/

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