Your IAGs for Swindon North and Swindon South Area
We have two Independent Advisory Groups (IAGs) in Swindon, one covering North Swindon and the other covering South Swindon.
Independent Advisory Groups (IAGs) are made up of regular members of the public who meet to advise and offer ideas to police forces on the wide range of activities that go into policing.
North Swindon IAG chair Anton James, is a retired Merchant Navy Captain who has lived in the Swindon area for almost 50 years. We asked Anton about his experience with the group and how he felt being part of the IAG helps policing in his community.
"When I retired, I wanted to keep active by volunteering, so as well as joining the IAG I am also Vice Chairman of a National Disability Charity. When I saw an advert for the IAG I thought as a disabled pensioner I would like to represent my area. When I was still working at sea, I applied to be a special constable but due to my seagoing career was not accepted. I have always been interested in police work and now I am able to give them critical advice."
What value do you get from being a member of an IAG?
"I enjoy meeting others from different backgrounds and experiences and being part of a friendly, diverse group. Our meetings are a pleasure to attend. On the serious side I find satisfaction in giving advice to the police from a public's perspective but getting feedback from the police also."
How do you think the Force benefit from IAGs?
"They listen to our comments and seem to take notice of what we say. So far, the feedback from the police has been very positive and well accepted."
What things have you discussed so far?
"We've discussed everything from the community policing team model, to the introduction of spit hoods to how the police can advise the public on the introduction of the new Tasers. We also discussed Wiltshire Police's Policy on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and issues local to North Swindon."
What has been the most surprising or interesting thing you've learnt from being part of the IAG?
"I am amazed by how much the force has changed over the years and how friendly everyone is that I have met. I wasn't sure that we would be listened to and our advice would be accepted by the police but I have learned that everyone from the Chief Constable down is in favour of our group and the advice we can give. "
How do you share the information back in your communities, and how do you think they benefit from this?
"I discuss the items that are open to the public with family, friends and neighbours in order to get advice and feedback from them. I am active on Facebook and follow the North Swindon Community Police page, giving comments as and when I can."
If you are interested and have any questions before completing the application form, please get in touch at [email protected]
Independent Advisory Groups, known as IAGs, were created to challenge conventional thinking, give an independent perspective on issues and to work as genuine partners with the police to improve policing, with a particular focus on diversity and the protected characteristics as covered by the Equality Act 2000:
Marriage and Civil Partnership
Pregnancy and Maternity
Religion and Belief
The main role is to act as a 'critical friend' to the Police. Unlike other, more formal, groups that advise the police - such as scrutiny panels - IAGs do not offer expert or specialist advice, but exist simply to understand the viewpoints of its members.
IAGs are not made up of councillors, magistrates, politicians or other interested parties, but by ordinary members of the public with a keen interest in policing in their local area.
There are seven IAGs representing their local area across Wiltshire and Swindon and they meet up on a regular basis to advise and offer ideas to police forces on the wide range of activities that go into policing.
We also have a specific IAG focussed on Diverse Communities and issues relating to policing, diversity and inclusion - for more information on this group please visit the Diverse Communities IAG page
As critical friends, IAG members constructively advise and challenge Wiltshire Police on policies, procedures and practices and advise the Force on how to do better.
Specific tasks might involve a critical assessment of an operation, policy or incident. The aim is always to identify ways to make policing better for all.
As a member of an IAG, your input will help us to be more effective, to engage better with our public, and respond better to the needs of the community.