Residents have the opportunity to join the Independent Police Advisory Group (IPAG), which acts as a critical friend to Kent Police. The group is totally independent of the force and helps improve the services police provide to people from different backgrounds. It includes volunteers who can offer their perspectives around issues such as race, sexual orientation, disability, age and gender. The IPAG also provides an opportunity to engage, consult and discuss the impact of policing on communities. Members are able to share feedback to Kent Police from the communities and local areas they represent, as well as give advice and support during critical incidents.
Superintendent for the Kent Police Diversity and Inclusion Academy, Rachel McNeil said: ‘We welcome applications from anyone with an interest in providing leadership, energy and confidence to provide constructive feedback to the police. The IPAG also includes people from minority groups and diverse backgrounds and volunteers have the opportunity to bring along independent thoughts and views which Kent Police will listen and respond to. By joining, you can help us to engage with communities, develop plans and review police activity and operations.’
Members are required for both countywide roles, as well as positions covering local districts. IPAG county vice chairperson, Elaine Bolton, was recently recognised for her work as a volunteer over a number of years, during which she also took charge of her local group covering Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge and Malling. Mrs Bolton was awarded a Certificate of Recognition on behalf of Chief Constable Alan Pughsley, with praise given for her ‘life enthusiasm and passion and her hard work and leadership’ around issues including hate crime, domestic abuse and protecting vulnerable people.
Supt McNeil added: ‘As a force we recognise the vital importance of volunteers such as Elaine, whose selfless and tireless work has helped to shape Kent Police’s response to issues which matter most to our communities. We now hope to welcome a number of new volunteers who can act as a conduit and a voice to support the communities and businesses of Kent. You can get involved as much as you like and have time for.’
If you are interested in joining the IPAG, either at a county of local level, please email [email protected]