Public invited to become 'critical friends' of police

By Barrie Hudson - 3 June 2021


Wiltshire Police are calling on the public to help shape policing by joining their local Independent Advisory Group.

Independent Advisory Groups (IAGs) are made up of individuals who volunteer their time, their voice and their opinions as a 'critical friend' to the police.  

In Swindon there are two groups - Swindon North covers Penhill, Pinehurst, Rodbourne, Rodbourne Cheney, Moredon and Gorse Hill, while Swindon South covers Walcot, Parks and the town centre.

Swindon North is recruiting, and chair Anton James said: “I’ve met some interesting people, both in the public and the police. 

"I have realised there has been a complete change in attitude on behalf of the police towards the public, they are friendly, easy to get on with and they do actually listen to what we discuss. 

"I feel the IAG and our opinions are valued and listened to, otherwise I wouldn’t still be in the group after all this time.”

The voluntary IAG members constructively advise and challenge Wiltshire Police on policies, procedures and practices, offering advice on areas the force could improve on to make policing better for all.

IAG volunteers come from all walks of life. They are not magistrates, politicians or other interested parties, but by ordinary members of the public who want to make a contributions for the benefit of others.

Sergeant Tom Ellerby, who recently joined the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team, said: "The IAGs and the volunteers who make up each group mean a lot to us. 

"Their independent voice is incredibly valuable in helping us shape policing services and I can honestly say that since I have taken on my new role I have been approached by officers and staff from across the Force speaking so highly of the valuable contribution they make.” 

Information about the role and how to apply can be found at

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