Independent Advisory Groups advise on all aspects of equality and diversity, in particular the 'nine protected characteristics' arising from the Equality Act 2010.
Cheshire's IAG was set up in February 2004 and provides the constabulary with independent guidance and advice on policies, procedures and police operations.
The IAG is committed to working with Cheshire Constabulary in order to provide an independent voice in representing the interests of minority communities. It embraces the opportunity to provide an independent view on local community issues and welcomes the chance to be influential in shaping police service provision.
By being independent, members are able to see things from a different perspective and can anticipate how police responses to problems may be interpreted by the communities of Cheshire.
Below are listed the members of Cheshire's IAG. They are happy to be contacted to advise on any matters linked to minority communities. Their contact details can be obtained from Paula Hewer (Engagement and Consultation Officer) during office hours.
- Provide advice and guidance to the police and PCC to help prevent critical incidents escalating (these may be external or internal incidents)
- Provide a sounding board for the Constabulary to understand the potential impact on communities of police practices and operations.
The Constabulary and the PCC may look to advisors to "appraise Constabulary action from the perspective of a receiver of police services and a member of the community" Advisors should be capable of:-
- Asking Challenging questions
- Providing constructive criticism
- Identifying options for resolving policing problems
- Assisting to secure and maintain community confidence
- Being involved in the police response to any critical incident, typically through participating in Gold groups.
Advisors should avoid anything that might jeopardize their independence or lead them into legal proceedings
Advisors should NOT be used as mediators or advocates
Used to trace witnesses or act as intermediaries
Or used in situations where they know the victim(s) suspect(s) or witness(es) of a crime.
Name: Alison Weston (Chair)
Represents: Rural Community
Alison joined the Cheshire Constabulary IAG in June 2015. She lives between Macclesfield & Buxton on the Cheshire/Staffordshire/Derbyshire border. She worked in IT for Shell international for 35 years, her last role was head of Information Security and Risk Management globally. She also volunteers for Cheshire Young Carers, East Cheshire Hospice, Treehouse (dining facility for the homeless in Macclesfield) and is a visiting volunteer for Pets as Therapy.
Alison joined the Cheshire IAG to get involved in a voluntary activity that promotes and supports diversity in all its forms.
Represents: Muslim Community
Name: Lee Byrne
Represents: LGBT Community
Lee has been a support worker based at P3 since 2001 and is currently involved in the support of homing Syrian refugees in the Cheshire West & Chester area. He is a gay male who lives just outside Chester and represents the LGBTQ community.
He has experience of working with a wide range of groups and individuals with a variety of complex issues and backgrounds. As a member of the Cheshire IAG, he is delighted to be helping Cheshire Constabulary in these areas.
Name: Jo Garner
Represents: Autistic/Mental Health Communities
Jo has been a member of the Cheshire IAG for three years. She set up the Cheshire Autism Practical Support Ltd (ChAPS) service seven years ago to support families in Cheshire who have a dependent on the autism spectrum, whether diagnosed or not.
In 2011 she set up the Autism Criminal Justice Forum consisting of Cheshire Police, Cheshire Fire, NW Ambulance, Crown Prosecution, Cheshire Probation, NHS Trusts and local autism charities. Jo wanted to get involved with the IAG to give back to the force, and to raise awareness of autism spectrum condition – the fastest growing disability in the world.
Name: Bev Bailey
I have always believed passionately in fairness and equality of opportunity across all areas of society. With both personal and professional experience I consider myself to have a good general knowledge and understanding of all minority and underrepresented groups within our community.
I joined the IAG with a particular interest in the voice of people living with a disability and/or long term health condition and whilst a member of the IAG I will both support and challenge the Cheshire Police Force to ensure better understanding of this group. Having a long term health condition myself and having worked within services supporting disabled people, I believe my personal and professional experiences allow me a better understanding of the barriers and challenges society places on people living with disability. Whilst I cannot claim to speak for every individual living with a disability or long term health condition I bring a balanced and realistic viewpoint and am able to identify where wider or more specific consultation is required and will actively support the Cheshire Police Force to seek this.
Due to experience of the impact of Hate Crime on individuals, their families and the wider community, I have a more specific interest in improving the reporting and understanding of Hate Crime and currently sit, as IAG member, on the Force Hate Crime Scrutiny panel.
I have worked and volunteered within the disability arena for many years and am currently a trustee of a local charity who provides advice services for people living with disability.
I am employed as Service Coordinator in a homeless prevention service (commissioned by the local authority) and work closely with individuals across all sectors of the community and also many organisations including Health and Social Care, all emergency services and many local and national organisations.
I understand the many barriers people are faced with on a daily basis including poverty, lack of suitable housing, transport etc.. And believe this knowledge and understanding invaluable as a member of the IAG
Name: Dawn Taylor
Represents: Gypsy & Traveller
Name: Halina Kelly
I have been involved with Cheshire Constabulary for 27 years as a polish interpreter. I love my involvement with Police and I have been a member of Cheshire IAG since 2004. I currently work with the Warrington Polish community in supporting polish families including our Warrington polish school. I am always happy to assist Cheshire Police where needed.