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Scrutiny Blog - August 2023


VinceI'm Vincent Leyenda and I am the Assurance Officer here at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC). Part of my role is helping to co-ordinate our scrutiny panels and independent schemes. These play a vital role in us holding Humberside Police and the new Chief Constable to account on behalf of the public.

We are committed to protecting our communities and ensuring that the people of the Humber region get the best police force in the country. To achieve this, we rely heavily on volunteers who serve in a variety of roles to help hold the police to account and make sure they are using their powers appropriately. In this blog, I will be shining a spotlight on the volunteer roles that are available at the OPCC and the impact they have on our community.

Volunteers are a valuable asset to the OPCC and help us achieve our goals in various ways. They play a crucial role in our mission to improve policing and criminal justice services in the area. Our panel members work alongside our staff to collect feedback from the public, gather data, and conduct research that helps us shape our strategies.

In short, our volunteers are an extra pair of eyes and ears on the ground, they help us identify areas of need and areas where improvements can be made. They work tirelessly to make our communities safer and help victims receive the support they need. We are incredibly grateful for the time, dedication, and hard work our volunteers put in and without them, we would not be able to achieve our objectives.

Police Powers Scrutiny Panel

The Police Powers Panel scrutinise, recognise, and promote good practice, and robustly challenge how Humberside Police exercise use of some of their legal powers. In the last year, the panel have looked at close to 100 police reports and trawled through hours of police officer body-worn video footage, to help ensure that officers are appropriately and ethically using their powers. Panel members have also attended Humberside Police training of officers in areas such as stop & search, use of force and use of Taser.

Hate Crime Scrutiny Panel

At our Hate Crime Panel, we look to scrutinise, recognise and promote good practice, and robustly challenge how Humberside Police proactively deal with and raise awareness of hate crime.

In the last few months, the panel has taken on a new chairperson and seen some hugely positive changes. I'll keep you posted on the great work the panel are doing in future blogs. 

Independent Custody Visitor Scheme (ICVs)

Custody suiteOur ICVs make unannounced visits (in pairs) to police custody facilities in Hull and Grimsby, monitoring the welfare of people in detention.

Our volunteers check on conditions in custody suites, speak to detainees in police cells about their treatment and follow up any concerns raised in relation to detainee welfare and treatment. In the last year 107 visits were carried out across the region. We have seen positive changes occur within custody settings as a direct result of the feedback our volunteers have given. In the last few months, we recently introduced a new app for the ICVs, which will make the reporting of issues more efficient. In the coming months I'll keep you updated on the impact of this scheme, and how much it benefits our community.

What's new?

This blog has been created to show you the work we already do and keep you updated on what's new under our scrutiny umbrella. In this edition, we welcome our new Ethics and Scrutiny Chair, Zoe Taylor, and say a huge thank you to the previous Chair Simon Green for their amazing work over the last couple of years. For more information on our Ethics and Scrutiny Panel CLICK HERE 

I'm also pleased to announce a new scrutiny panel we are set to run from October 2023, The Independent Custody Scrutiny Panel (ICSP). The ICSP is made up of existing ICVs and will run alongside our ICV scheme to look at addressing wider custody-related issues. I will keep you updated on the work this panel fulfils in future editions of this blog. 

Meet the Team 

In each edition, I will introduce you to members of the team here at the OPCC and to our volunteers and chair-people. 

TorIn this first edition, please meet our Chairperson of the Hate Crime Scrutiny Panel, Tor Xander-Crabb. 

Tor has been with the panel for almost 2 years now and is the newly elected chair.

They are a “Devil-stomping ninja and social justice warrior” who also happens to be a First Dan black belt in Karate. We asked Tor why they joined the panel, they told us because of something that Maya Angelou said: “People will forget what you said and did but never how you made them feel. We need to help the PCC to ensure that our communities are as safe as they can be”.

Here at the OPCC we are proud of all the work the Hate Crime Panel are doing, with Tor leading the way. 

I'd also like you to meet our new Chair of the Ethics & Scrutiny Board, Zoe Taylor. 

Whilst her day job as a financial adviser is all about managing risks and working with numbers, outside of work Zoe is a bit of an adrenaline junkie and has taken on all kinds of challenges including a skydive.

ZoeZoe joined the board to help ensure that high standards and integrity are upheld, and to promote an ingrained attitude of fairness and understanding.

Thank you for taking he time to read this blog, I hope you have found it interesting and maybe learned something new.

This first edition is an introduction into the work our volunteers carry out, in future editions I hope to get more into the detail and how it benefits us, the public and the police. 

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at the OPCC please click here for further information.   

You can also contact me on email as the volunteer coordinator for more information on available roles –