Gazette readers invited to join Police ‘watchdog’


Stone readers are being invited to join a new panel to shape the work of local policing in their community.

The Stafford Safer Neighbourhood Panel launched a fortnight ago under plans by Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, to shine the spotlight on local policing and make Staffordshire’s Police Service the most open, transparent and ethical in the UK.

Although there has been a good response to the panel, there are still places for new volunteers who can find out more by emailing

Panels examine, challenge and shape the work of police at the most local level. It will hold the Local Policing Team Commander to account as well as looking at wider criminal justice and community safety issues in their area.

Local residents and councillors sit on the panels with magistrates bringing additional expertise. Panels influence local policing and community safety, scrutinise the work done by police in their area, give feedback to communities and examine the impact of community resolutions and restorative justice.

Mr Ellis said:

“This is a real opportunity for people in Stafford and Stone to play a part in holding all responsible for policing in their area to account and I’d urge residents to get involved.

“I make no apology for believing that truly local policing, and the public playing a part in influencing that policing is vital.

“You can shape policing at the most local level in your community by joining the Safer Neighbourhood Panel.

“The new spotlight on local policing performance that these panels will bring is invaluable in adding to the rigour I have introduced to overseeing policing.”


The panels follow the success of the county-wide Ethics, Transparency and Audit Panel (ETAP) which was established by the PCC in 2013. The ETAP is made up of trained members of the public and monitors different aspects of performance and standards in policing across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. ETAP has received national recognition for its work on the police use of Taser, stop and search and crime recording in Staffordshire.

Councillor Jeremy Pert, Cabinet Member for Communities at Stafford Borough Council, said:

“This is a great opportunity for people in our local communities to be invol ved in improving the safety and quality of life in their areas, on issues that matter for their local communities. It is the members of the community who are well placed to highlight and offer advice about local concerns and I encourage anyone interested to find our more and get involved. It can be really rewarding.

“The panel has the chance to work with the Local Police Commander and hold them to account where necessary ensuring we have effective policing that is focussed on what matters most to our communities.”

Volunteers for Safer Neighbourhood Panel roles must be aged over 18, but otherwise the PCC is interested in attracting people from all walks of life irrespective of age, disability and ethnic background. Expenses will be paid.

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