Fortnightly update to the Police and Crime Commissioner - 14 April 2023
Dear Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Wilkinson,
As you know, last week I attended the Policing Performance Oversight Group (PPOG) who are responsible for evaluating our progress further to being placed into the Engage process last year.
At the meeting, I updated on our activity to date, and the clear plan for delivery over the coming months. In certain areas of policing, particularly regarding tackling Domestic Abuse and providing a better service to vulnerable people, we have seen an improvement.
However, Wiltshire Police is yet to achieve consistent and sustained improvements across the board, and we remain in Engage. My officers and staff are working hard, but we have much to do to achieve our ambitions to provide the best possible service to our communities and rebuild trust and confidence in Wiltshire Police.
This is my focus, and nothing less will do.
Following PPOG, I hosted an internal live Q&A session within Wiltshire Police and discussed with my teams as to what the next steps will look like. This includes seeking their thoughts on how we may further improve. Following my commitment to our communities and stakeholders, I also provided a public update, as I wish to increase the transparency of our journey through ‘Engage’.
From an operational perspective, my teams have made further arrests linked to the tragic murder in Swindon at the end of 2022, and also the recent shooting in March 2023. Wiltshire Police is committed to ensuring our communities feel safe inside and outside their homes, and these arrests tackle people who cause serious harm to our communities.
Across the end of March and the first week of April, we also took part in the latest phase of the South West Regional County Lines Intensification operation. Through a range of proactivity, Wiltshire Police officers, staff and volunteers carried out numerous warrants, resulting in multiple arrests, remands and closure orders. We also secured more than £10,000 worth of drugs and took numerous dangerous weapons off our streets.
Alongside our enforcement activity, we also carried out significant community engagement and reassurance. This included working with partners to deliver prevention activity to parents; with taxi drivers to help them spot the signs of county lines exploitation, and in schools to educate pupils on the legislation around possession of knives and bladed articles.
I am sure you will join me in thanking everyone involved in planning and executing this operation – some truly fantastic work.
This week saw the sentencing of a man who threw a lit firework at Officers and a Police Dog ahead of a Swindon Town football match last year. Lewis Hill was jailed for four months after he assaulted four members of our Community Policing Team and Police Dog Ross. All received temporary injuries as a result of the attack.
He admitted four counts of assaulting an emergency worker and one count of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal. I know we share the position that assaults against officers and police animals will never be tolerated. If anyone assaults an officer or any other emergency services worker, they should be prepared to be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.
Finally, I am delighted to update you that Wiltshire Police has recently been named as the third best Force in the country when it comes to the quality of the data we are inputting into the Police National Database (PND).
This is in relation to our data inputs over a 12-month period – illustrating impressive consistency in this area. Additionally, our Force DBS Standards and Compliance Unit were graded as ‘Outstanding’ in their national audit by the DBS Standards and Compliance Unit, being described as a ‘beacon of consistent high standards for other forces’.
The work of the DBS team is absolutely critical in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults in particular. I am pleased that their hard work has been recognised in this way and is another example of our commitment to ‘keeping Wiltshire safe’.