What is an Independent Advisor?
Independent Advisors are members of diverse communities from across the Force area who provide advice and make recommendations to the Police on how policy and services affect different protected groups. The role of an advisor is to:
- assist the police in shaping service delivery to meet the needs of diverse communities;
- provide guidance and feedback about the potential and actual impact of policing on different groups; and
- act as a ‘critical friend’ challenging conventional thinking and offering an independent perspective on issues.
Advisors are not representatives of a particular community or group and must not seek to promote the work or interests of any particular group through their role as advisors. Advisors are individuals who live in Devon and Cornwall and who may belong to, or work for, community groups or organisations and may draw on knowledge and experience from those roles when providing advice.
Where do we use Independent Advisors?
Local Reference Groups
There are three local reference groups covering the geographic areas of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Plymouth and Devon. Members of the local reference group look at how all aspects of policing; neighbourhood, response and crime operate within the specific geographical area impact on their community. This includes how best to consult on any proposed changes to the way that policing is undertaken locally, community response to incidents that have already occurred and information on new or emerging communities. Local reference groups will usually meet on a quarterly basis and are held during the working day.
Scrutiny panels review particular elements of policing work to gain a better understanding of trends, patterns and any negative impact which may exist for particular protected groups. The work involved may be for a specific length of time or on-going and will require independent advisors to set time aside outside of meetings in preparation given the level of information that may be required to read, analyse and interpret. Depending on the topic under review, the scrutiny panel could either be geographically based or for the whole force. Meetings are likely to be held during the day.
A critical incident is defined as ‘any incident where the effectiveness of the police response is likely to have a significant impact on the confidence of the victim, their family and/or the community'.
Critical incidents may be planned where an ‘Operation’ is going to be undertaken; or unplanned where an incident occurs and an independent advisor is called upon to support an investigation as it happens ‘live’ at any time of the day or night.
Depending on the individual incident, independent advisors may be required to assist the force understand the positive/negative impact of any action proposed; information specifically about the ‘cultural’ needs of a victim/witness/offender or others affected by an incident; methods of communication including social media/media etc.
Following a critical incident, independent advisors may be asked to participate in a review group set up by senior management to identify any learning for the Force from the incident.
Thematic reference groups
These are based around four of the equality objectives;
- Violence against women and children
- Hate Crime
- Culture, leadership and positive action
- Learning and development
If this is something that you might be interested in and would like to know more please contact us at diversityHQ.