Fortnightly update to the Police and Crime Commissioner
Dear Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Wilkinson,
Over the last fortnight there have been a number of important activities underway within Wiltshire Police which I would like to update you, and our communities, on today.
I’m sure you will have seen the update which has been published by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) yesterday regarding the fatal road traffic collision on the M4 slip road in January where Jamie Donnelly, 17, sadly died. This was a tragic incident, and our thoughts remain with Jamie’s family and friends at this most difficult time.
A referral was made by us to the IOPC immediately after the incident on 2 January and the officer who is subject of the independent IOPC investigation is currently on restricted, non-operational duties and this remains under regular review. Whilst this is an independent IOPC investigation, I will keep you and our communities updated when I can.
Last week also saw the outcome of a misconduct hearing held in relation to a former Detective Constable – Mark Tylee. The independent Legally Qualified Chair (LQC) of the panel upheld three of the four allegations regarding an inappropriate email sent to an external organisation which was of a sexual nature and had no legitimate policing purpose.
The hearing concluded that, had Mr Tylee not retired, he would have been given a warning or final written warning. I remain totally committed to ensuring that we root out and challenge any and all inappropriate behaviour within Wiltshire Police and I will take all necessary steps to robustly deal with those whose behaviour falls below the standards we expect. To help ensure that my workforce have the support to report internal wrongdoing, in December, the Force launched a new Safe2Say Anonymous Reporting System.
This is a bespoke internal reporting system which is geared to giving officers, staff and volunteers the confidence to report any wrongdoing, concerns they have or intelligence surrounding our workforce. I remain resolute in ensuring that Wiltshire Police is an organisation where only the highest standards of respect and professionalism will be tolerated.
On an associated note, this week has seen the launch of the refreshed College of Policing Code of Ethics. This is a national Code to guide the police service in the standards of professional behaviour expected by our communities and all who work in the service. Within the Code of Ethics are a set of ethical policing principles that should be used to help people in policing do the right things, in the right way, for the right reasons.
My officers, staff and volunteers hold a privileged position in society that depends on the consent of the public and it is important that whilst going about our duty to uphold the law, prevent crime and disorder, investigate crime and keep people safe – that we do this in a way that reassures communities that our decision making has been fair, unbiased, open and ethical at all times.
It is only by operating with the highest of standards that we will earn the confidence of the public and uphold the integrity of the policing profession.
I have spoken to my officers, staff and volunteers about the Code of Ethics this week as we continue the focus on organisational culture which I mentioned to you in my letter dated 22 December 2023. As part of this work I have, over the last few weeks, hosted two events with my officers and staff to discuss the issue of misogyny and gather views and opinions from across the workforce on this important issue.
I have made it clear that I will tackle any misconduct or criminal behaviour robustly, not only to ensure Wiltshire Police is a positive and inclusive place to work, but also to ensure that we are able to offer the best possible service to the public we serve.
In February, which is LGBTQ+ History month, I will be focusing on the subject of Homophobia and ensuring we have open and reflective conversations across the organisation as to how we can continuously improve our support to communities and colleagues.
On Monday, I was delighted to attend two wonderful events – both with you! The first was our visit to the newly finished Tidworth Police Station, to celebrate its completion as an incredible purpose-built modern policing facility for my neighbourhood policing team in order to provide increased visibility and engagement for Tidworth and the surrounding areas.
This building is shared with Tidworth Town Council – and it was great to see their facilities too, including how we can work ever closer together in partnership. It was also an opportunity to support your launch of the new PCC Estate Strategy, which outlines significant investment in the Wiltshire Police estate over the next decade.
This is truly exciting and ensures a far-reaching estate in order to deliver policing services across the county.
Later that evening, I was also honoured to host my second Wiltshire Police Recognition Ceremony in Devizes. During the evening we reflected on the incredible thoughtfulness, courage, innovation and commitment from members of our communities, policing volunteers, police officers and police staff who have helped people in need. It was also an absolute pleasure to meet the families and friends of award recipients who had joined the evening of celebration.
I am sure you will join me in once again congratulating all those who were presented with an award. As I reflected in my closing comments, I genuinely do have the most privileged role as it enables me to work with incredible colleagues and communities.
On Thursday of this week, we launched the ‘Dementia Wristband Initiative’. The bands are a result of a collaboration between Wiltshire Police, your office and some of our partners - including the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust, Alzheimer’s Support, and Carer Support Wiltshire.
The wristbands contain a micro-chip which carers or family members will load with key information about the wearer, including their name, age, and the town or village they are from as well as next of kin details such as a name and phone number.
The wristbands are designed so that if someone with dementia goes missing or wanders away from their home, friends or family, and are in distress, then the necessary information is available immediately in order to help them back to their home and loved ones.
This is such a worthy initiative, and I am so grateful to everyone who has been involved across the wider public sector agencies to make this happen. Our communities can read more about this initiative here.
Finally, I was delighted to see so many members of public join myself and DCC Craig Dibdin on my first Facebook Live event recently. The questions and views received from those online were so welcome and spanned a variety of different topics.
Thank you to those who dialled in and, for anyone who wanted to attend but did not get a chance to, you can watch back on the Wiltshire Police Facebook timeline on 22 January.
I plan to hold these online events on a quarterly basis and, whilst it does not replace the other engagement activities, meetings and visits by myself and my Wiltshire Police colleagues, it was important for me to provide an opportunity for those people who wanted to chat online.