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‘Critical friends’ focus on policing

THEY’RE the committee of ordinary people whose experience helps shape policing on the streets of Solihull.

THEY’RE the committee of ordinary people whose experience helps shape policing on the streets of Solihull.

On Monday, we were invited to meet the members of Solihull Police’s Independent Advisory Group (IAG).

Set up some two-and-a-half years ago, their aim is to bring a civilian perspective to the way the police work in the borough.

Chairman Fiona Anderson said: “I suppose a good term to describe the group would be critical friend. We cover a wide range of areas across Solihull, including Knowle, Hillfield, Smith’s Wood. There’s older people, a member of the deaf community and ethnic minorities.”

These 13 volunteers meet with officers every six weeks to discuss a range of issues - anything from policing the town centre at night to the use of tasers.

At 18-years-old, Matthew Corbin, from Shirley, is the youngest member of the group and brings a teenager’s view point to the table.

“We cover a lot of different things but the big issue for young people last year was probably the consequences of the riots.”

Thelma Borley, from Hampton-in-Arden, said the sessions were a chance to spread the word about police initiatives to the local community. “This is an opportunity for me to hear about what’s being done and report back to people in the village,” she said

Insp Darren Wilson said that for the officers the group was invaluable: “We speak to people who approach things from a slightly different angle. It’s incredibly useful in letting us get the message out there about what we do.”

 

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