We actively seek the opinion of a group of vetted volunteers who support us as a 'critical friend' by reviewing our use of Police Powers, such as Stop Search and the Use of Force.
Independent scrutiny helps Wiltshire Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to understand areas of concern and to highlight best practice. This in turn, improves the overall efficiency and effectiveness of our policing services in the communities we are here to serve.
Through transparency and openness, our Police Powers Scrutiny Panel helps us to:
Build public confidence in our policing
Hold the police to account for its performance
Provide quality data to understand and identify issues - for example disproportionality - at an early stage, to enable prompt and evidence-based resolutions.
Since 2016, Wiltshire Police has run a Stop Search Scrutiny Panel to review police actions taken in relation to searches, considering the legality, proportionality and necessity of stop searches.
Panel attendees - members of public with a keen interest in policing practice - help by giving us their views and opinions on the use of Stop Search in their communities.
View a full list of our volunteers who form the panel and find out about their backgrounds.
The Police Powers Scrutiny Panel was established in 2020 to expand the remit of the original Stop Search Panel to include interactions involving ‘Use of Force’ and allow for further transparency in the use of powers that may be considered contentious.
The new Police Powers Scrutiny Panel meets quarterly, either virtually or in person. It is led by an independent chair and membership is encouraged from people of different backgrounds, skills and experiences. Panel members are given inputs and training to assist them in understanding the demands on officers in these testing areas of policing.
Scrutiny comes in the form of asking for a review of the grounds used by our officers in taking action in recent Stop Searches or Use of Force deployments and includes assessment of officers’ body worn video camera footage.
My name is Lisa Collins, I am the Chair of the Police Powers Scrutiny Panel. I volunteered for this role because I am passionate about community issues.
In my working life I was once the lead council officer for the Tenants Scrutiny Panel for Swindon Borough Council. Meeting regularly and listening to the tenants’ views and ideas. During my time at the council, I worked very hard with the tenants and through improving our relationships and some honesty I managed to change the perception of the group internally and the perception of the Council Services to the Tenants.
So, I understand the importance of "outside" review and support and how, when managed well it can be of real benefit to the service users, or in this instance to the community the police support.
In my professional life I have held the role of Head of Operations for many years across various fields. Previously for Swindon Borough Council I was (amongst many other services) responsible for the Complaints for Adults and Children’s Social care, and for the Operations of the Emergency Welfare Fund. Meeting with tenants and customers face to face to understand their situations and to ensure the right outcomes were found.
More recently I have been working in the field of Transport Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Enforcement. Within the last few weeks, I have moved into a role related to rail infrastructure.
I have lived in Wiltshire most of my life but have spent a few years living in Slough and Hemel Hempstead; this time was very worthwhile but made me very grateful for the wonderful countryside we have here in Wiltshire.
In my spare time I am very busy being a full-time working mum and owner of two energetic dogs!
My goal as part of the panel is to support Wiltshire Police with continual service improvement, increasing my own knowledge of the community and the issues we face.
In the future I would like to pursue a volunteer role as a Magistrate. As a volunteer chair of this panel I am learning valuable skills and exposing myself to situations which will support my abilities in my future once I get there!
You can read and download our meeting minutes from the Police Powers Scrutiny Panel below.