Once upon a time it was normal to see a policeman walking along the street. They were expected, it was quite normal, they are and always have been part of our community.
Then, they disappeared, or it seemed that they had gone. And when you saw a Policeman, the immediate thought was ‘oh, there’s a problem somewhere’.
But that’s not how it is. Any member of the Police, be they full Officer, PCSO or Special, they are here, members of our community and just like us. And likely more visible now than a while back.
“We’re here to help” notes Ben Huggins, Inspector and leader of our Devizes, Pewsey and Marlborough Community Policing Team (CPT).
“What are the real Policing issues in Marlborough?” we ask Inspector Huggins.
“Firstly, every community sadly suffers from a level of criminality”, Ben explained. “From a policing perspective, criminality is generally two-fold- societal issues such as sadly private space domestic violence, and the overarching safety of women and girls within society”. Whilst Marlborough is not a standout location for this type of offending, Ben explains that these issues are sadly prevalent in all of our communities.
“We know that domestic incidents can, and do, occur in every walk of life and background. It’s one of the key challenges to policing this and protecting the public”. Alongside national issues, Ben explains how localised Marlborough issues include anti-social behaviour, shoplifting and, of course, ‘even speeding’. “A few might not be happy getting a ticket for doing 40 or more in a 30 limit, but many others will be as speeding, bad and inconsiderate driving can be dangerous and affect any of us, at any time.”
In Marlborough, common reported concerns include shoplifting and an element of anti-social behaviour- similar issues to other towns of a similar size. “Marlborough isn’t devoid of crime, far from it but its not a crime ‘hot spot”. Sadly, as Ben alludes to, Marlborough does suffer with rural crime “Owing to the geography and close proximity to motorways, the rural community within Marlborough does suffer from predominantly theft offences”. Ben explained how Wiltshire Police have invested in the Rural Crime Team, to focus on both dealing with offenders and preventative advice.
Ben is actively looking to push his teams and increase policing visibility in the community. So will we see a return to ‘officers on the beat?’ “Yes and No” explains Ben. “Policing has changed – whilst we continue to deal with threat, harm and risk within communities, we need to be aware that policing our digital footprint to ensure the community are not victims of fraud or online offending is just as important as an ‘in-person’ approach. However, the role of our neighbourhood officers is to be more visible and to be within your communities, and we have tasked them to focus on rural villages and locations where accessing police services can historically be more challenging”.
“What should we all be aware of?”, we asked. “Policing is intelligence led. If you see or are concerned with activity within your area, please come forward and tell us – even the smallest bit of information can add to a wider picture”. Ben also takes this opportunity to encourage us to take small steps to prevent criminality: “A number of criminals operate on an opportunistic nature. Don’t encourage them by leaving high value items such as laptops on the back seat of cars, or leaving doors and windows open when not home”.
As well as dealing with those who offend in the community, Ben explains how his team are also focused on both preventative measures and protecting those who are vulnerable. “We work alongside partner agencies including Marlborough Town Council and support services to ensure those who need support and guidance are able to access it, as well as identifying diversionary opportunities for those on the cusp of criminality”. Ben comments ‘In the main, Marlborough is a safe and pleasant town. “My team are there to ensure that anything causing this to disrupt is dealt with, stamped on and to provide the community with clear and easy access to their local officers”.
Marlborough Town Clerk, Richard Spencer-Williams concurred: “The Police and Town Council are both committed to working together for the benefit of the Marlborough community. The working relationship is very good and where there is community safety issue each are aware of both parties will respond as best they can in unison.”
Any questions, either contact Ben or his team by e-mail on email@example.com or join one of the local Community Policing Team ‘FaceBook Live’ sessions, where we can all have direct access to the team. Or just say ‘Hi’ to an Officer, PCSO or Special Constable in the High Street. “We’re around” says Ben, “we’re here to help”.
To find out more about Policeing and crime in Marlborough, click here to visit the Wiltshire Police website for Marlborough.
Or to report something, call ‘101’ or if urgent and serious, call ‘999’. Or report online at: https://www.wiltshire.police.uk/ and click ‘Report’