PCC outside a door
31.08.21 Devizes
Philip Wilkinson, the new Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon meeting members of Wiltshire Police force during his visit to the county’s headquarters in Devizes on Monday 31st August 2021

Wiltshire Police has faced low points in the last year but it is becoming clear some of the improvements put in place are starting to deliver – and with a new leader at the helm, the Force is in safe, steady, hands.

Chief Constable Catherine Roper’s drive and commitment to delivering a quality policing service to Wiltshire residents, which is contributing significantly to Making Wiltshire Safer, has been apparent since she took the role.

Focused strategic direction introduced immediately looked to answer the criticisms in the HMICFRS PEEL report with Chief Constable Roper leading her officers, staff and volunteers from the front and with the implementation of clear priorities for the Force: Safer Public Spaces, Violence and Burglary.

Communities have been seeing focused operational work to tackle serious violence through increased engagement, highly-visible, and proactive, policing. This is alongside a commitment to attend 100% of residential burglaries. Currently, the Force detection rate for burglaries is 9.7%, which is a significant improvement, but I will always challenge for more.

I know residents want safer roads, safer communities with more police officers – this hasn’t been lost on the new Chief. Significant focus has been given to consistent proactive roads policing stop checks, continued speeding enforcement in hotspots across our communities and increased engagement with all communities.

With support being given to our fantastic Community Speed Watch volunteers by the Force’s Speed Enforcement Officers, and the work of the Roads Policing Unit, notices of speed awareness courses, fines and court summons have increased from 192 in 2021 to over 2,000 in 2023’s first five months.

In addition, the Force recently hit government’s officer recruitment targets, achieving the highest number of officers since 2010. It has also introduced a quicker, non-degree, route to get police officers through training in 20 weeks and on to our streets.

Wiltshire Police remains in the Engage process but I am confident reforms and improvements put in place by Chief will improve in those specific PEEL report areas of focus, for example: victims’ service, 101 and 999 improvements, increases in justice outcomes for rape and serious sexual assault.

All of this is really promising, and excellent delivery of my police and crime plan, but I, and my office, will continue to support and challenge Chief Constable Roper to deliver on behalf of Wiltshire’s residents.