Agenda item

Independent Advisory Group

Sgt Steve Bedford (Northants Police)


The Police are expected to have an Independent Advisory Group (IAG), representative of the diverse communities, who meet regularly to raise policing issues that affect them and to act as a sounding board for Police when looking at new processes or policy that may adversely affect some communities. 


Members of the IAG are sometimes (thankfully rarely) called upon to assist with major investigations where there maybe communication barriers or mistrust within communities and also sometimes to form a small task/finish group to look at a specific issue or problem.


Discussions have been taking place to collaborate with the Community Forums and have a standard agenda item on all forum meetings that would be attended by a Police Sergeant. The purpose would be for the community to be able to raise crime and policing issues directly and to act as a critical friend to the police and challenge them on issues.


A form will be circulated with the minutes asking for personal details from those who are willing to be included on a list of community contacts. This list would be contacted directly in the event of issues that are likely to cause concern in order to share factual information through your networks and get feedback.


These contacts are also sometimes used to gather a panel to review policy changes and also in matters of a major incident for purposes of an investigation. Aid to communication – latter would need a confidentiality statement signing to protect sensitive information that could hinder the investigation.


Anyone with questions or wanting further information/clarification on any of the above please contact Aimee or Steve.


Discussion and feedback from forum members:


Will (Qspace) raised concerns about the Police attending all meetings, with the view that it may put some people off and suggested the attendance over the years from the police has been inconsistent.


Zach suggested an LGBTQ Officer might be preferred.
Steve – The issue with this approach is that the officer on duty at the time of the meeting may be from a different area and not in the best position to take action whereas having a Sgt rank attend would give more consistency and be more accountable.


A number of other members disagreed with comments made and welcomed the police to attend. WillB (Lowdown) highlighted that the forum is predominantly made up of people who also represent LGBTQ services and groups and it is important to work with the police, build working relationships and encourage hate crime reporting. If it was a support group then it would be less appropriate for Police to take part on a regular basis.


Dean agreed that opening the line of communication with the Police is important.


Alex (NCF) asked if replacing the advisory group would mean less formalised scrutiny of the Police?

Steve - Hoping for more formal scrutiny as a result. Previous Advisory Group was successful for several years but membership dropped off and no longer have a representative group. Actions will be noted in the minutes and updated on in the next meeting. Meetings were not minuted for the advisory group so this would be more accountable.
IAG is not to hold police to account, but to challenge and be a critical friend.


John asked about the kinds of issues that could be raised – for example; Domestic abuse and how it impacts LGBTQ people in Northampton?

Steve agreed this would be a good example of an issue to raise.



A number of issues were raised with the form that has been seen by those who attend some of the other forums and have received this already. The group agreed this is an opportunity to educate the police around terminology and LGBTQ language. Steve welcomed this information and guidance from the forum.

The majority also agreed that language evolves and changes and even those within the LGBTQ community are not always aware of all terms and it would be useful to share something across the forum to better educate everyone.

WillB (Lowdown) offered to support with a glossary of sorts for the forum.


Anyone wanting to suggest changes to the form/offer guidance on language/terms please send these to who will collate and share with Steve.