Attacks on our officers will be met with the full force of the law
I was shocked to find out that ten of our officers were assaulted in three separate incidents on the same night whilst carrying out their duties in the county.
Whilst the severity of the assaults hasn’t left any long-lasting physical damage, I am deeply concerned that someone felt comfortable shouting racist abuse at one of our officers and someone else had no problem with approaching one of our officers and punching her square in the face.
I know I’m only speaking about a very small minority of people in Wiltshire when I say that I will not stand for this type of behaviour but with a rising number of assaults on police officers nationally, I want to make it absolutely clear that I want to see anyone who assaults emergency workers feel the full force of the law.
There were positives to take from that weekend though. At a time where the UK’s head of football policing, Chief constable Mark Roberts, has asked to meet the sport’s governing bodies to discuss an increase in disorder at games, it was pleasing to see the local derby between Swindon Town and Bristol Rovers pass off relatively trouble free.
It’s a match where there have been problems in the past, but the plans that were put in place before the game worked and the two sets of fans were kept apart. I’m also glad to hear that the new bronze commanders made their mark in keeping the public safe.
I’ve been working hard to make sure that hare coursers in Wiltshire are brought to justice. Whilst it may appear to be a trivial crime to some, it’s an illegal activity which is funded by criminal gangs and sees tens of thousands of pounds being gambled across the world in black market betting.
Activities like this line the pockets of hardened criminals while hard working farmers see their property vandalised and damaged and are also subject to violent intimidation.
I’ve made it my aim, along with Devizes MP Danny Kruger and Salisbury MP John Glen, to lobby the government to introduce new criminal offences and increase the penalties against anyone found guilty of being involved in this gruesome activity. I also welcome the new powers the courts have to ban any convicted offenders from keeping or owning dogs.
Now we have the sentencing powers in place, it’s my job to make sure that our rural crime team have the technology and resources to enforce the new offences and this is something I fully intend to do.