Bringing the people and police closer together in Torbay

South Devon police commander Matt Longman

South Devon police commander Matt Longman - Credit: Archant

New independent panel will bring police and people closer together in Torbay

The Rev Nathan Kiyaga

The Rev Nathan Kiyaga - Credit: Archant

A new body is being set up to bring the police and community even closer together in Torbay and South Devon.

The relationship between police forces and the communities they serve has been at the forefront of global headlines.

People from diverse backgrounds who have an interest in policing and community safety are being recruited to the new independent Devon and Cornwall Community Scrutiny Panel.

This panel will contribute to the ongoing work of building trust and confidence between police and community and will aim to achieve this in broadly three ways:

*Training for the public and internal police force in collaboration with our colleagues leading similar panels in other regions.

*The police have a lay observation scheme in place where the public can have a front-line view of what policing involves. Through this scheme, it is hoped the community will gain an understanding of what life on duty can be.

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*Accountability is key. The use of force in relation to any stops and searches conducted will be looked at. All practices that are contrary to standards set by the policing body will be called to account.

Torbay faith groups leader, the Rev Nathan Kiyaga who will chair the panel, says: 'It is this collaborative partnership which drives us to seek the truth and celebrate when things are done well or bring to light where growth and wisdom is required. My hope is that with such mutual trust, residents will feel much safer and able to interact even more in constructive ways with those who seek to keep us safe.'

South Devon police commander Chief Supt Matt Longman said: 'I cannot put too much emphasis on what an important role panel members have. We know the impact police powers can bring on people's lives especially when used correctly, they are an invaluable part of policing. When done incorrectly, it can be damaging in lots of ways.'

Anyone in Devon and Cornwall is welcome to join this panel. Those interested can contact by email or Facebook via the Devon and Cornwall Community Scrutiny panel page.