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Norfolk PCC urges support for network to be 'critical friend' to police



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Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner has urged organisations to take part in an initiative to restore any lack of public confidence in the police.

A series of bad headlines, including the conviction of a Metropolitan Police officer for the rape and murder of Sarah Everard, has he admits shaken confidence in policing nationwide.

A new network is being created to allow critical feedback on how police forces are operating.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk Giles Orpen-Smellie who has announced his preferred candidate for Chief Constable of Norfolk (53386329)
Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk Giles Orpen-Smellie who has announced his preferred candidate for Chief Constable of Norfolk (53386329)

The PCC, Giles Orpen-Smellie, said: “Sadly, through a number of incidents both inside and outside of Norfolk this year we have seen a gap develop in the trust and confidence people might have in policing and it is vital that we rebuild that bond of trust."

The network will be part of the Norfolk Independent Advisory Group (IAG), which is made up of residents from different backgrounds who work alongside the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and Norfolk Constabulary to bring community-based perspectives and views to policing.

The IAG is described as a ‘critical friend’ to the police and is designed to ensure the voices of different communities are heard on subjects that could range from the use of stop and search powers to the development and implementation of equality and diversity strategies.

Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Giles Orpen-Smellie on patrol in Lynn with local beat manager PC Mike Hopkins (53386336)
Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Giles Orpen-Smellie on patrol in Lynn with local beat manager PC Mike Hopkins (53386336)

Mr Orpen-Smellie is expanding the group with the development of a new IAG Engagement Network designed to further increase the input and influence of residents from all backgrounds.

Network members will work alongside the IAG to represent the needs of as wide a range of residents as possible, ensuring they are able to directly impact policing in Norfolk.

Representatives from community groups or interested individuals are invited to join the network and could include people from minority ethnic groups, the LGBTQ+ community, refugees, rurally isolated communities, elderly people, people with disabilities and those living with mental health challenges, however the PCC is keen to ensure all residents are able to have their say.

The IAG will also work with organisations who support those with protected characteristics, the vulnerable, victims of crime and organisations representing the needs of a wide range of demographic groups.

Mr Orpen-Smellie said: “The role of an IAG is to help build a real partnership between the police and the communities they serve. I have great admiration for our IAG members and the commitment they show to representing their communities and I know that the police force benefits greatly from their insight and knowledge.

“The Norfolk IAG is a well-established group and there is a strong connection to the Constabulary already in place. Through the development of this new Engagement Network, we will be able to grow and develop those links even further.

“This is a real opportunity for people to get involved, share their views and have a positive impact on policing in their county and their communities.”

The Norfolk IAG Engagement Network will be launched at the IAG Annual General Meeting at 6pm on Tuesday, December 7, and interested members can find out more information about how to join and what the plans for the network will be in 2022.

The AGM will be held using a virtual format. For more information about IAG, the AGM and the Norfolk IAG Engagement Network or to register to receive a link to attend the event please email: fay.crangle@norfolk.police.uk



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