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Community Involvement
Independent Advisory Group (IAG)

What is an Independent Advisory Group (IAG)?

An Independent Advisory Group brings together volunteers of all ages from a diverse range of communities who provide Cumbria Police with impartial advice, helping us enhance the delivery of our services across Cumbria.  

There is currently a central group, which meets with senior officers working from the police headquarters in Penrith to consider matters that affect policing across the whole of Cumbria.

Local groups are established in each of the three policing areas in Cumbria.  They will meet with the senior officers delivering police services at the local level.

Independent Advisory Groups were introduced following recommendations from the Stephen Lawrence enquiry report. 

Why do we need IAGs?

Cumbria Police needs the advice of people who are willing to help us understand the issues affecting their communities, whilst questioning and challenging our practices in a constructive way. Whatever is being discussed, it is vital for all group members to feel they are able to give honest and challenging views. 

What is their role?

The role of the groups is to advise and observe the police and offer constructive criticism. This helps the force to deal with an incident, or the impact of an incident, and its effect on communities. The responsibility for delivering against that advice rests wholly with police officers.  Independent Advisory Group members do not act as investigators, mediators, advocates or intermediaries and are not answerable to the police. 

Cumbria Police is committed to carefully considering the advice received from all group members. The force remains legally responsible for the action taken by officers and, as such, there will be occasions when the action taken will differ from that advised by the groups. This does not mean that the advice is not valued and has not been taken into account.

Where possible, Cumbria Police will make sure the groups are told what action, if any, is taken upon their advice and the reasons why that action has been taken.

Who can join?

Anyone can be an advisor. You should have an interest in policing in Cumbria and the effect it has on your community and be willing to highlight any criticisms you have and offer suggestions about how Cumbria Police could do things better. Your own experiences, and those of people you know, should put you in a position to advise from experience. You are not, however, expected to represent your community or group.

Cumbria Police is particularly keen to attract people to reflect the interests of:

  • black and minority ethnic communities (including Gypsies and Travellers)
  • faith and non faith communities
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual people
  • transgender people
  • people with physical, sensory and/or learning disabilities
  • refugees and asylum seekers 

To carry out the role it is important that you can:

  • work with people from different backgrounds and communities
  • be willing to make a contribution to police plans and policy
  • express and explain your views to others
  • listen and consider other people’s views
  • speak on your own behalf, rather than as a group representative
  • question and challenge the views of others in a constructive way
  • work as part of a team.

You can still apply even if you have a criminal conviction, although there are certain serious crimes that may preclude you from getting involved. It is often the views of those who have been through a police process that give us a valuable insight into how we can change things if needed.

How often do the IAGs meet?

Groups meet four times a year (quarterly, once every three months).  Meetings are held in the evenings.  There may also be occasions when the groups, or individual members, will be asked for advice on specific issues, such as to advise on the impact an investigation of a serious crime could have on a particular community. In cases like this, you might be called upon at short notice but this will only be done in exceptional circumstances.

How do I find out more or apply?

To read the Handbook, please click here

Our next Independent Advisory Group (IAG) Open Meeting will be on the 15th January 2020, 6:00pm at Durranhill Police Station Carlisle. To register your interest please click here

To apply you can complete our online application form by clicking here

For further information, write to:

Diversity Support Team (IAG), Cumbria Police Headquarters, Carleton Hall, Penrith, Cumbria CA10 2AU

Let us know if you are interested in making a positive difference to how we provide services to the community and giving advice about a range of different issues.