Thames Valley Police launches Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board
Left to Right: Detective Inspector Quoc Vo, Jacqueline Roberts FRSA, Chief Constable John Campbell, Superintendent James Hahn, Fola Komolafe MBE, Superintendent Gavin Wong, Mr Calvin Wilson, Sergeant Reyan Al-Owaied, Nita Pankhania, Assistant Chief Constable Dennis Murray
Thames Valley Police has launched on Thursday, 13 October, its Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board.
The Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board (ISOB) demonstrates Thames Valley Police’s commitment to a meaningful Race Action Plan. The ISOB will give our communities a credible forum to hold the force to account in its delivery of the Race Action Plan.
The Board will be chaired by Mr Calvin Wilson, a barrister with significant experience of working with Black and other seldom-heard communities. Mr Wilson will be supported by the Chair of Thames Valley Police’s Stop and Search Independent Advisory Group, Jacqueline Roberts FRSA and Fola Komolafe MBE.
Together, all members, who volunteer their time, will ensure the recruitment of additional board members from TVP communities most effected by policing issues such as the use of powers.
The ISOB Chair will play a key role in shaping the Race Action Plan and will scrutinise, check and challenge the Programme Board on its the delivery.
Thames Valley Police will be the first oversight board to replicate national ISOB accountability with a Black Barrister leading and recruiting the TVP board to hold us to account.
Race Action in policing – nationally and locally
The national Police Race Action Plan launched earlier this year and sets out changes across policing to improve outcomes for Black people who work within or interact with policing.
The plan was developed jointly by the College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs’ Council, working in collaboration with Black communities and partners – including the National Black Policing Association and an Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board. It has the commitment of all 43 chief constables in England and Wales.
It aims to address:
- disparities affecting Black people
- lower levels of trust and confidence in the police among some Black people
Thames Valley Police’s plan goes further to include all Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Groups. Several areas of work are already underway, including activity to:
- Develop a community plan working with the Somalian and Congolese community to reduce serious violence, with funding supported by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office.
- We have a developed Strategic Independent Advisory Group for Stop and Search looking at improved ways of working. We have formed the ISOB to open ourselves up to external scrutiny, on things like Section 163 vehicle stops. This will help us to develop best practice.
A public survey was published in May of this year alongside the launch of the national Race Action Plan. From over 5,000 people who took part nationally, Thames Valley was one of the areas most frequently given by respondents in answer to where they lived.
Assistant Chief Constable Dennis Murray said:
“As the Chief Officer leading this vital piece of work, I am keen to ensure that communities have a voice and mechanism to hold the delivery of the Race Action Plan to account.
“I am resolute that the plan is lifted from the page and turned into demonstrable action that improves the way we deliver policing services for, and builds the trust and confidence of our Black, Asian and other Minority Ethnic communities.
“The action plan looks to deliver national and locally agreed plan outcomes relating to how we operate internally and externally. It is key that we are representative of all of the communities we serve and this is a key part of the plan.
“Black, Asian and other Minority Ethnic communities will only have confidence to join us if they are reassured that this is not a ‘tick box’ exercise. I can reassure them that it is not and delivery of the plan outcomes is essential to ensuring the culture of Thames Valley Police is fit for purpose and remains so.
“TVP had the highest response to the national survey and we will use this feedback in developing our plan. The Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board will help us on that journey.”
Mr Calvin Wilson, Chair of the ISOB, said:
“We applaud the Thames Valley Police for embarking on this important initiative and for being the standard bearer that other forces around the country will follow.
“As initial members of the Independent Scrutiny Oversight Board we are fully cognisant that this journey over the next two years will be challenging, but are not daunted.
“We look forward to engaging with stakeholders across the Thames Valley’s Black and minority communities to join us as we seek, as expeditiously as possible, to recruit other Board members so that our work as critical friends of the Thames Valley Police can begin in earnest.
“We are all seeking to bring about fundamental change in attitudes and behaviours which is no easy task. However, we are confident that with goodwill and a preparedness to listen and to engage, even when hard questions are being asked, that positive results will be achieved to the benefit of the Thames Valley and national communities.”
Abimbola Johnson, Chair of the National Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board, said:
“The national Police Race Action Plan will only be successful if forces integrate the values underpinning it into their local areas, and if local people are empowered with the knowledge and platform to provide adequate scrutiny.
“The creation of the Thames Valley Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board is a crucial step in ensuring that the Race Action Plan genuinely works for the Black communities in the Thames Valley area. It will also support in transforming the proposals into meaningful action for a community that is over-policed as a people while under-protected as victims.
“We hope that through this new independent board, Thames Valley Police takes up the challenge to embed anti-racism in all aspects of their service. We look forward to working with the Thames Valley Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board as we collectively seek to improve the experience and outcomes for Black people.”