The safety of residents is the priority for Wiltshire police and nobody – whether they be international drug barons or youth getting drunk and aggressive in a play area – should be allowed to get away with the aggravation they cause.
This uncompromising message was spelt out to the West Swindon Forum on 15 September by Brian Moore, chief constable of Wiltshire, pictured below, with Swindon area commander Chief Superintendent Paul Howlett, who spoke about the vast range of responsibilities his force has to be cope with.
With 1,200 police officers and several hundred support staff the force has to respond to 999 calls and run the traffic division, CID and murder operations, serious and organised crime, the dog and firearms squad.
“After seven months in the post I and my senior commanders have reviewed our work and are implementing new approaches to make our scarce resources go further. It’s a question of finding the right balance between the important day to day demands of neighbourhood policing, which take up a third of our budget, and the wider, often invisible demands on us – the terrorist threat which is real, the drug dealing at street level which is linked into international sources, the paedophiles using the internet and recently, for the first time, a case of human trafficing in the county.”
He said his top priority is to make Wiltshire the safest county in Britain for violent crime, whether it be in the street due to drinking, violence in the home which is the top contributor to murder or by young people.
“We have to recognise that young people are also the victims of violence and have to work to reduce their vulnerability through work with schools to cut truancy rates and community work. The summer football training and tournament at Link Centre was a successful example of work by the police with local youngsters.”
Residents at the meeting called for more police on the beat to deal with aggressive, intimidating youth in public places such as Kiln Park, Toothill, Shaw Ridge and at Peatmoor Village Centre. Mr Moore said he wanted to work more closely with residents and the council to cut off the supply of alcohol to young people and expects his PCs to take on anybody causing problems. “My officers should be in touch with troublemakers so that they know if they behave badly they will be dealt with. I want our people to go to toe-to-toe and deal with them.”
However he appealed for residents to help the police with evidence and information. He acknowledged difficulties with the police call centre and response times, but appealed to people not to give up on reporting problems to the police as his force would not be giving up on keeping people safe.
• Learn more about the police, include crime levels for your neighbourhood, apply to be a special constable or volunteer your skills at: www.wiltshire.police.uk