New community panels begin monitoring the Met’s use of force
Twelve panels comprised of local community members will review and feed back on police officers’ use of force in every London borough on a regular basis, starting this month.
This is one of a number of our initiatives to listen to and rebuild trust with Londoners.
The new Police Encounter Panels (PEPs) – co-chaired by community leads and area police commanders – will meet to discuss encounters with the public that have occurred in their region of London, including those which may have caused community concern.
The PEPs will review encounters including those where police officers have used force, with panel members being shown body worn video footage where appropriate.
To increase our transparency to Londoners, we are giving panel members access to more material than we have done in existing community groups – including police officers’ written accounts of events and stop and search forms.
Introducing PEPs is one of a number of actions the Met is taking to better understand the impact of our officers’ interactions with the public - particularly those we know have lower levels of trust in us - and to learn and develop, always with the aim of improving the trust of the people we serve.
We recently announced how our hard work to improve officers' interactions with the public had resulted in an 11 per cent reduction in the use of force during regular encounters.
We believe the Met is the world’s most scrutinised police force, and these new PEPs will ensure there is another opportunity for us to listen to local communities and act on their feedback.
The PEP members are volunteers drawn from local communities who reflect the diversity within the area. They will be joined by senior officers and representatives from the Met Federation or an appropriate staff association.
The aim of the PEPs is to improve how the Met polices London. When things have not quite gone right in an encounter, community members will be able to make recommendations based on their own lived experiences and knowledge. They can also identify good practice that should be shared more widely.
Learning from the meetings will be fed back to individuals, the local police teams and pan-London police teams like the Met’s Taskforce, Specialist Firearms Command and Roads and Transport Policing Command, to ensure the organisation as a whole learns from local incidents.
The PEP meetings are also an opportunity for us to talk in more depth about how and why we use force in certain situations.
In addition to regular meetings, we can arrange ad-hoc meetings when a specific encounter has occurred which the panel wishes to review fast-time or which the Met believes it would be beneficial for communities to have a more immediate understanding of.
Commander Helen Harper, Head of Profession for Met Crime Prevention, Inclusion and Engagement, said: “We have developed the Police Encounter Panels as another way to listen to Londoners and identify where we could do better in the areas of our work where we face most criticism. We also want to work out where we’re getting things right, so we can replicate that positive action across the Met.
“The new panels will help us build stronger relationships with people in every London borough, particularly with those who have not previously been part of police review groups.
“We depend on the trust of the people we serve and we know we are so much more effective if we are listening and engaging with them. We’re here, we’re changing, we’re learning. We will not stop working to be the service Londoners need and deserve.”
The PEP meetings will take place in addition to existing and long-running local and pan-London review processes the Met already takes part in, such as local Independent Advisory Groups and Borough Community Monitoring Groups.