Scrutiny of stop and search a top priority for Lichfield Safer Neighbourhood Panel

A member of a group examining policing issues in Lichfield says the scrutiny of stop and search will be one of its top priorities.

The Lichfield Safer Neighbourhood Panel was set up by Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis with the aim of improving transparency.

As well as examining the work of officers in communities, the ten bodies across Staffordshire also have the power to examine video footage from body cameras worn by front-line police.

Des Morrison, a member of the Lichfield Safer Neighbourhood Panel, said the groups could play a “significant role” in defining the police force of the future.

Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis and Des Morrison

Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis and Des Morrison

“The Lichfield panel was established last October and met for the second time last month,” he said. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to make a community safety contribution, support the policing commander and undertake a scrutiny role.

“We are in the process of defining our priorities. Initially, we wish to proactively focus scrutiny upon stop and search. We recently attended a very illuminating training event on stop and search and look forward to playing a significant role in making policing in Staffordshire the most open and transparent in the country.”

Members of the various policing panels in Staffordshire came together on Saturday (March 5) for the force’s first accountability conference.

Commissioner Ellis said the event showed the panels were a success.

“The conference was an opportunity for the local people who make up the panels to share progress and learning as well as agree the next steps to make policing even more transparent and accountable,” he said.

“Interest from local people continues to grow and it’s important that the work of each Safer Neighbourhood Panel is used in a way that provides a complete picture of how Staffordshire Police are performing in each local area and across the wider force area.

“Police and Crime Commissioners in other parts of the country are using the approach we’ve developed as a model for their areas. It is members of the panels who have made this work so effectively and, while it is early days still, I am confident it will go from strength to strength.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.