WEST Mercia Police is holding an online event to invite interested members of the LGBTQ+ communities to find out more about how they can give their valuable input into policing.

West Mercia Police has a number of Independent Advisory Groups (IAGs), made up of members of the community who act as critical friends, advising and giving feedback on aspects of policing work.

They provide scrutiny for issues such as hate crime, stop and search and use of force, and can help advise police during major investigations.

As well as geographic IAGs across force areas, there are thematic IAGs which represent particular communities from across the policing areas.

One thematic group, the LGBT+ IAG, offers West Mercia Police a focussed way of hearing from those with lived experience, interest and expertise in LGBTQ+ issues to help the force continually improve its work.

Assistant chief constable, Rachel Jones said the experiences of the LGBT+ community were vital to policing.

"We want to be inclusive in all areas of policing," she said. "I would encourage as many members of our LGBTQ+ communities as possible to join us on the Zoom meeting, and find out more about how they can scrutinise and influence the activities and policies of West Mercia Police.

"Their experiences and insight is vital to us, particularly on issues such as hate crime, community relations and engagement, and equality and diversity matters.

"Taking part in this initial meeting does not mean you are committing to joining the group, but we are hopeful that from amongst those who attend, we can form the membership of a reinvigorated, dynamic and constructive LGBT+ IAG."

To help interested people learn more and get involved, the LGBT+ IAG will be holding a Zoom meeting on February 23 from 6pm to 7.30pm.

The event will include:

  • An introduction from assistant chief constable, Rachel Jones
  • Policing and the LGBT+ community – a history
  • The force's LGBT+ staff network, Pride in West Mercia
  • LGBT+ IAG members' experiences of hate crime and the police
  • Overview – joining the LGBT+ IAG and what you can expect
  • Q&A – moving forward to the future.

To book a place, please email katrina.gilman@westmercia.pnn.police.uk