A boost to the number of police officers and staff at Wiltshire Police is one of the many positive messages reflected in this year’s annual report from Wiltshire and Swindon’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson.
In his annual review for the year 2018/19, he also highlights how the Force is successfully tackling knife crime and dealing with the growing threat from cybercrime.
His report states: “We’ve achieved the increases in officers and staff thanks to the precept rise in people’s council tax – £2 a month for an average band D property equates to 41 additional police officers and two extra cybercrime staff.”
“Although I welcome the Prime Minister’s promise of 20,000 new police officers, it’s unclear what this will look like for Wiltshire so we have to continue to work with what we have. I am, however, positive that we will get more officers although how they are paid for remains a question which requires an answer for which I will continue to push.”
“My message to Westminster remains the same when it comes to money – we still don’t receive enough funding from central government. “
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the public for backing the precept increase which has allowed me to deliver on my promise of more officers and staff.”
Angus Macpherson is pleased that the Force has again been ranked “good” by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) for its effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy, and for its crime recording compliance.
Alongside this, he is also pleased to see that there was a four per cent reduction in recorded crime in Wiltshire and Swindon in the past year.
For the first time, this year’s report also includes a public summary of the Force Management Statement (FMS). This is an annual report collated by the Force which sets out the challenges and demands facing Wiltshire Police and the capacity and capability of the Force to meet these.
The FMS is an important tool in showing the public, in real terms, how policing their communities is changing and how we are adapting to meet these growing demands.
Highlights from the report:
On-going campaigns including the Op Sceptre knife amnesty last year has helped drive down knife crime – dropping by 18 per cent in Wiltshire.
Nerve agent attack
Angus wrote: “ The Force’s response and leadership received national recognition for the exemplary way in which it managed the incidents; and that message of commendation has been filtered through to the officers, staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly to ensure the public were kept safe and as informed as possible in line with the investigation.”
“I would like to publicly add my own gratitude to the extraordinary efforts of Wiltshire Police and the selfless dedication and commitment of all involved.”
The total cost Wiltshire Police was £12m which has now been reimbursed by the Home Office.
Good progress is being made on replacements for Marlborough, Warminster and Amesbury/Tidworth police stations and the refurbishment of Royal Wootton Bassett which is due to start in the autumn.
Angus Macpherson writes: “My aim is a significant reduction in estates costs and the plan includes the disposal of sites that are no longer required or are not fit for purpose for policing in the 21st century.”
“Savings will be used to fund capital projects, thereby avoiding the need to borrow. This, in turn, avoids paying interest and protects the future delivery of front-line services.”
The Commissioner recognises the rise in cybercrime and continues to invest in the Digital Investigations and Intelligence Unit (DIIU): “Cybercrime has moved policing from the frontline to the front room.”
“There are more exciting things which the DIIU team want to develop in to next year, including: the introduction of Digi-dogs (dogs which can detect digital devices like phones and computers) and improved software to detect cryptocurrency and vehicle crimes.”
“In this fast moving world of cybercrime we can’t afford to stand still for a moment and the DIIU are hot on cyber-crime prevention as well as keeping abreast – almost daily – of the latest cybercrime trends.”
[This article is adapted from a statement issued by Police Headquarters.]