Recruitment process for Independent Community Scrutiny Panels launched on Stephen Lawrence Day
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Today (Thursday 22 April 2021) marks the 28th anniversary of the tragic death of Stephen Lawrence, who was killed in an unprovoked racist attack when he was just 18 years old.
His death subsequently prompted a public inquiry that took place over the course of 19 months before the findings were published in the Macpherson Report in February 1999. The report made 70 recommendations, many aimed at improving police practices.
Greater Manchester Police is committed to continuing this work and doing all it can to achieve racial equality, both in terms of operational activity and within the organisation. This includes the constant review of the use of stop and search powers by police.
When used fairly and appropriately, stop and search remains an effective tool when trying to keep communities safe.
In an effort to increase transparency with all communities across Greater Manchester - as well as build trust and confidence in the force - GMP is seeking to establish Independent Community Scrutiny Panels (ICSPs) in each district across GM.
The establishment of the panels will allow local people to scrutinise the use of police powers in their communities whilst also providing police with an opportunity to speak directly to those living in the area and get to the heart of issues within that community.
Chief Superintendent Umer Khan, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "We strive to openly learn how we can build better relations with our communities so that we can increase the confidence and trust they have in us, which will in turn increase our legitimacy with them. We know that in some cases, people may feel that they are less likely to be heard, given opportunities to succeed and possibly even feel targeted by police.
"This is why we are establishing Independent Community Scrutiny Panels in each of our policing districts across Greater Manchester. This will build on the already existing framework we have with our Independent Advisory Groups (IAGs) and the Force Ethics Committee, and therefore add a different layer of scrutiny.
"We want to hear directly from our communities and get to the heart of issues that are affecting local people so that we can continue our commitment to achieving race equality in Greater Manchester. Only by hearing directly from the people of Greater Manchester can we truly understand how we can address any issues in the use of police powers so I would urge anybody who has been subject to stop and search, or who knows somebody that has, to consider applying.
"To those people who feel like they are less likely to be heard, I want to assure you that these independent scrutiny panels will give you a voice and we will listen."
Professor Erimna Bell MBE DL BA, Chair of GMP's Force IAG, said: "I welcome the establishment of Independent Community Scrutiny Panels across Greater Manchester and the potential for this to further improve the relations between GMP and communities across the region.
"I know first-hand the challenges faced by communities and the police during their interactions with each other, and I firmly believe that only by working together can we improve things for the future.
"GMP cannot build confidence and trust from the communities without our assistance, therefore, we need to get on board. This is a continuous journey and it's pleasing to see that GMP remain committed to it."
Do you want to have your say? Do you want to learn about and see how the police should be using their powers and give us your honest opinion about how we are doing? If so, please click here for an information pack and application form. The closing date for applications is Monday 10 May 2021.