We are seeking members of the public to join us in scrutinising the work of Wiltshire Police.
The Community Scrutiny Panel meet every 6 weeks to view body worn video footage of Officers at work. The common theme will be that the encounter involved a use of force by officers, either baton, TASER or PAVA; an incapacitant spray.
It is important that you are able to view the use of force by police in the process of their work and provide an objective and constructive opinion. You will share your own thoughts on what you see, and whether you think the police response is appropriate or not. There will be some guidance and support available at the meetings but you do not need an in-depth knowledge of police practice and procedures.
As a panel member you will help provide assurance for your community and impact directly on the work of your police force.
Panel members say that the meetings are always interesting and provide an insight into the situations the police encounter across Wiltshire, and how they manage them. It is a fascinating and real view of the police at work.
Please come and join us.
Community Scrutiny Panels (CSPs) allow members of the community to review individual police interactions with the public.
The CSP aims to develop trust and confidence between the police and the community they serve, including those disproportionately impacted by the use of police powers, through achieving transparency, accountability, engagement and understanding of how police use their powers, and how improvements can be made through process or policy changes.
The findings of CSP’s offer an effective feedback mechanism to police forces, for organisational learning and to individual officers for training or development needs, as well as identifying examples of good practice.
CSP’s support police officers to use their powers appropriately, develop a better understanding of the communities they support and aid public understanding of how and why police powers are used.
We welcome panel members from across Wiltshire who are interested in scrutinising the work of the police and helping us to promote the importance of procedural justice and accountability.
You must be over 18 and live or work in Wiltshire, you may also be required to undergo vetting.
Anyone that meets those criteria can volunteer to join the CSP. If you are interested in the treatment of people during their interactions with police and committed to giving an objective and constructive review of police work, then you would enjoy this opportunity.
We are particularly keen to recruit younger members and those from diverse backgrounds. Every opinion helps us understand how policing affects individuals and communities.
Panel members are given guidance and some training to assist them in understanding the demands on officers in these testing areas of policing. However, we do not want experts in police practice. The ‘feel’ of an interaction, the attitude of police and the fair treatment of people can all be considered by the panel members without a thorough knowledge of legislation and policy. We are happy to provide training on request and can provide learning material to any panel member that wishes to develop further understanding.
This CSP aims to review, scrutinise and quality assure police interactions with members of the public that include the use of force by Officers. Specifically, we will focus on the use of baton, Taser/Conducted Energy Device and PAVA (Pelargonic Acid Vanillylamide), which is an incapacitant spray.
Body worn video footage, chosen at random, will be viewed by the panel members for consideration. The panel is concerned with procedural justice, disproportionality, the appropriate use of force and use of approved practice and process. Panel members are encouraged to give an objective opinion on the footage they view, and their comments are fedback to the individual officers.
The aim is to improve performance, to allow Officers to consider their approach to the use of force and how their intervention into the life of an individual may impact upon them, their opinion of the police and the criminal justice system.
The degree to which someone perceives whether they have been treated fairly and justly by authority will inform their opinion and their behaviour. For this panel it is important that we consider not only the justification for Police intervention into someone’s life, but also if the intervention complied with authorised professional practice. We will also consider how the interaction would make the individual feel, for example:
they do not feel unfairly targeted
officers give them a good and credible reason for the encounter
they are treated politely and with respect by officers
the encounter does not last a long time
Feedback from the panel will be delivered to individual officers involved through their chain of command. By highlighting the importance of procedural justice, the CSP can help to maintain good relationships with police and communities, avoid disproportionality and unfair treatment.
OoCR’s are an important tool in addressing early stages of offending behaviour. They allow the Police to deal quickly with low-level offending without making recourse to the courts. They are also an opportunity to provide intervention and support to potential offenders at the early stages in criminal behaviour, diverting them into rehabilitative services to help reduce escalation of offending.
CSP’s are an important tool for ensuring that the police are held accountable for their use of OoCR’s, as well as providing assurance that difficult decisions to administer such resolutions are justified. The findings of CSP’s offer an effective feedback mechanism to police forces, for organisational learning and to individual officers for training or development needs, as well as identifying examples of good practice.
Scrutiny of the use of police powers, which includes Stop & Search and Use of Force, occurs every 6 weeks, in person at Devizes Police HQ. The schedule rotates through the 3 use of force areas: Baton, Taser, PAVA, with a Stop & Search panel between each of them.
The Out of Court Resolution Panel is held quarterly and is currently being trialled via Microsoft Teams. There is some pre-reading required for this panel which is sent out 7-10 days prior to the meeting.
Your attendance at all meetings is not mandatory, but regular attendance is encouraged to maintain your knowledge and provide consistency of the process.
If you are interested in applying for this role, please submit a brief CV, together with a supporting letter. This should indicate why you are interested in this role and highlight what skills and experience you offer. A willingness to scrutinise objectively and constructively are very important, we are interest in identifying areas for improvement and development as well as good practice.
The role of a CSP member is not demanding, although it may be challenging. The nature of the body worn footage may include violence, and what you may consider to be inappropriate language. It is an interesting and important role, the panel is welcoming and inclusive where everybody has a chance to express their opinion.
If you would like to be involved, then please get in touch.