Posted: Tuesday 5th April 2016
Monday 7 March
The diary for today is quiet, which is a big relief as I was working last weekend and next. However it didn’t stop two of the usual weekly briefings.
The first was with the crime prevention lead for the Force, who has a wide portfolio including relationships with The Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust and Community Speed Watch as well as directing the crime prevention initiatives within neighbourhood teams. We discussed the training of PCSOs and of specials, who also form part of the prevention strategy. Over the coming months, I will be working with colleagues from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service over their proposal for a new safety centre in the north of the county, an initiative that the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) supports.
Later in the day I had an update from the finance team. I am glad to report that they had no surprises for me as we move to the close of the year.
This was a quiet day to catch up on reading and post in the office.
Tuesday 8 March
Today is International Women’s Day and I would like to take the time to recognise the women working in Wiltshire Police across all ranks and roles. It was interesting to see that, in the last police officer intake, we welcomed into the Force in November, ten of the 14 new officers are women.
In the afternoon I travelled to Warminster to meet the sector sergeant who, with me, is attending a meeting of the Tisbury Community Safety Partnership later today.
I left those at the meeting in Tisbury reassured that the Chief Constable and I are both committed to local policing.
Wednesday 9 March
This morning I set up with a colleague the PCC tent at Marlborough market. I think we are getting near the end of our market visits and it seems that the usual market stall holders were taking an early break. That said we did see a number of people out on such a cold and bleak day.
In the afternoon I attended a meeting of the Wiltshire and Swindon Health and Wellbeing Board at which we discussed the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, Of particular interest to me was the Swindon and Wiltshire strategy to reduce domestic abuse. It is particularly pleasing that the community safety partnerships of both authorities have come together to tackle domestic abuse across five priorities: victims, survivors, children and young people, perpetrators of domestic abuse and continuous employment.
I am very pleased that my office is able to make a contribution to this important work. We have commissioned Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) at both Great Western Hospital and doctors surgeries, as well as working with Avon and Somerset colleagues around the domestic abuse agenda.
In the evening I went to Dauntsey’s School to watch a performance by the juniors of Alice in Wonderland. This was a pleasant break from the usual engagements for a PCC.
Thursday 10 March
At least the weather is better today as I am spending the morning at Devizes market. Devizes, as many of you will know, is the busiest of the markets in the county and we had many more visitors than yesterday. I had my photo taken by Geoff Hawkins who publishes on his website a photo of somebody he encounters every day of the year. Today he chose me to represent 10 March 2016. Click on galleries and follow the link to 366 strangers. A fascinating project.
Back at the office I met representatives from Wiltshire Community Safety Partnership regarding safety on the roads. We discussed how my office can help to get messages about road safety out into the community.
Later that evening I was pleased to be invited to attend the Force awards ceremony at Cumberwell Golf Club near Bradford on Avon.
A number of awards were given out including long service and good conduct awards to Police Constable (PC) Graham Briant, Inspector Roger Bull and PC Nigel Smith.
It is always a pleasure and privilege to hear of the good service that staff and officers give to the community and to recognise volunteers and members of the public who have helped the Constabulary at various incidents.
Friday 11 March
After having my back stretched by the chiropractor I had a phone conversation with Claire Perry, MP for Devizes, on the state of policing in Wiltshire, particularly with reference to crime in her constituency. These briefings seem to be a theme for today. At lunchtime I met Robert Buckland MP for South Swindon. In the evening I met Michelle Donelan, MP for Chippenham.
At each of these meetings I gave a report covering the governance structures of Wiltshire Police.
I explained how I assess the Constabulary’s performance, provided a briefing on crime in their constituency area, the results of HMIC inspections and the consultation and engagement that my office and the Constabulary have undertaken during the year. The briefings finished with a financial overview.
Blog readers will not be surprised to know that the message I wanted all MPs in our county to understand is that central funding does not do Wiltshire any favours. Indeed I’m using some £300,000 worth of reserves in the coming year to mitigate the unfair funding that Wiltshire receives. More about that in the new financial year.
In the afternoon I attended a meeting of the Wiltshire Public Services Board at which presentations on the counter terrorism Prevent strategy were given to partners by the Force and representatives of the council. Other business discussed was the Wiltshire housing strategy and an update on the merger of Dorset and Wiltshire’s Fire and Rescue services. I think public service boards provide a good opportunity for the Chief Constable and I to share our message with other agencies and partners and learn what they are doing which we can build on together.
I stayed in Chippenham for a political meeting in the evening.
Saturday 12 March
As a governor I attended the Dauntsey’s commemoration service which was held at the school, celebrating 474 years of its foundation by William Dauntsey in West Lavington.
Sunday 13 March
My wife and I joined the Chief Constable, my Chief Executive and their wives at the Rule of Law service held at Salisbury cathedral. This is a celebration of law in the county and it also marks the end of Lady Gooch’s year as High Sheriff. I have been particularly pleased to have Lady Gooch’s enthusiasm for the Volunteer Police Cadets harnessed by the Force and was pleased that one of our Swindon cadets, Ollie, was given a part to play by her in the service.