Communications between the Wiltshire Police Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner are shared for the interest and benefit of communities within Wiltshire.
Dear Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Wilkinson,
In light of the ongoing conflict in Israel and the border with Gaza, it is only right I start this letter by acknowledging the real impact this conflict is having on communities across the country.
We, as part of the police service nationally, are actively listening to and engaging with our communities and partners to ensure people feel safe and protected.
My thoughts are with everyone who has been impacted or affected by this conflict.
We are increasing our visibility in our communities and ensuring we are responding to any community tensions. I would urge anyone with any concerns, to come forward and speak to us – we will listen.
Although incidents of hate crime remain relatively low in our county and our conviction rate is higher than the national average, it is crucial that our communities know they can trust us to support them in any time of need.
Next week, is national Hate Crime Awareness week so we will be using this opportunity to show our communities how we deal with reports of hate crime and illustrate our zero tolerance to any hate crime or incident. We will also be encouraging people who are victims or witnesses to hate crime to report it.
Another issue which is dominating the news headlines currently is thefts from businesses and how this is – or isn’t – prioritised by policing. I know this is something you are also keen to see an improvement in service from us.
Here in Wiltshire, through direct engagement with retailers, we are developing improved support to them through our frontline policing teams. I am now getting regular updates from our police commanders in Swindon and the wider county to ensure we are monitoring and improving our performance in this area.
We take all reports of crime seriously and will follow all reasonable lines of enquiry to hold people to account for their actions.
Continuing the theme of ensuring we are listening to our communities and using their feedback to inform our policing approach, last week, we have held the first two Listening Circle forums.
The aim of the Listening Circles is to ensure a safe space for women and girls to share their experience, feedback and also a chance for us to gather feedback around where we can improve our services regarding Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).
It is clear the Listening Circles will be incredibly valuable in helping shape how we respond to VAWG-related issues. The views shared, and the discussion that took place, was so very powerful, inspiring and insightful. May I take the opportunity of this letter today to thank everyone who made the time to come along and for trusting us to share these experiences. We have four more Listening Circles taking place in the coming weeks and I encourage any members of our community who would like to make contact through our website.
Over the last few weeks, I have attended Area Boards in Trowbridge, Marlborough and Corsham. These boards are a crucial platform for us to update our communities on how we are performing and ensuring we are appropriately scrutinised by the people elected to represent them.
Those in attendance at Area Boards have made it abundantly clear that they want to see more tangible outcomes as a result of our policing activity. So, I wanted to share a snapshot of operational activity over the last two weeks which I believe our communities will want to know and underpins my priorities; Safer Public Spaces, Violence and Burglary.
- Our communities identified 26 hotspot areas in Swindon last week
- As a result, officers and staff from the Road Safety Team, Roads Policing Unit, Neighbourhood teams and Community Speed Watch teams focused on these location and more than 100 road offences were identified
- In addition, our regular roads policing operation, Project Zero, took place in Trowbridge and surrounding villages, with a total of 63 drivers stopped and spoken to for a multitude of offences – 49 of whom were caught driving at excessive speed.
- Over the last fortnight, we have seen some great proactive work by our burglary unit, working alongside our response and neighbourhood officers
- We arrested and charged two individuals in Swindon for a rogue trader incident which involved the theft of cash from a property
- A man was arrested for various offences in the Dinton/Teffont area after tools, a quadbike and other items were stolen
- A man was jailed for 21 months following several burglary offences.
In addition to the Area Boards, I have also had the pleasure of attending several engagements with our communities. These have included the Wiltshire Neighbourhood Watch Annual General Meeting, the Wiltshire Annual Federated meeting of the Women’s Institute and the Chippenham Community Safety Forum. I also visited Swindon Women’s Aid last week to hear about the incredible work they do in supporting victims.
At every single public engagement I attend, or every service I visit, I am absolutely humbled by the work that is being done and the contribution that is being made by our communities and for our communities. Thank you all for ensuring that, together, we remain committed to “Keeping Wiltshire Safe”.
Chief Constable, Wiltshire Police