AN independent panel established by Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis to strengthen public scrutiny of policing has had an injection of new blood.
The Ethics, Transparency and Audit Panel (ETAP) was established by the Commissioner in 2013 under his ‘New Dawn of Transparency’ agenda. It is made up of members of the public, drawn from across the county, who have become expert citizens.
ETAP has received national recognition for its scrutiny of the police use of Taser, stop and search and crime recording in Staffordshire.
Elford resident Clare Cowley is one of five new members who have joined ETAP.
Clare is a former Detective Superintendent from West Midlands Police Force, retiring in 2014 after completing her 30 years in the service.
During her time at West Midlands Police, Clare worked in the Public Protection Unit where she took part in multi-agency panels for case reviews and was a Senior Investigation Officer for Rape and Serious Sexual Offences, Domestic Abuse and Vulnerable Adult Abuse.
Clare said: ‘Working with ETAP is an opportunity for me to continue working in public service and I very much look forward to working with the team.’
Mr Ellis added: ‘It was good to meet and welcome the new panel members who I am sure will strengthen ETAP’s vital work. Honest and independent scrutiny by the public is crucial as we strive to set the bar higher and create a new dawn of transparency in policing.
‘This panel has used its wide-ranging and rigorous powers to scrutinise crime recording, forensics, Taser use, and stop and search to make sure decisions made by the police are correct and in the best interests of the public. It’s about being open and transparent, so that public confidence across policing and criminal justice is improved.’
Staffordshire people interested in becoming an ETAP member – who must be aged 18 or above – should visit www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/eta
Following ETAP’s success, local Safer Neighbourhood Panels have been launched across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. It gives people the chance to influence policing in their communities and help hold local police commanders to account at the most local level. They are made up of local residents who meet regularly with their area’s local policing commander.
The panels 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.
To find out more visit http://www.staffordshire-pcc.gov.uk/safer-neighbourhood-panels/