New touchdown points to make officers more accessible

Estates Strat 2017 - 2021

As part of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon's 2017-2021 Estate Strategy, officers and staff will start using several libraries across the county as touchdown points from 2 March 2020.

Under the latest phase of the estates strategy, the operational needs of Wiltshire Police were reviewed and several buildings were identified as no longer fit for purpose. Malmesbury, Wilton, Alderbury and Westbury police stations were identified as no longer meeting the operational requirements of the Force and as such will close. Instead officers and staff will begin using the respective local town libraries as touchdown points where they can engage with the public in their communities.

Touchdown points offer a quiet space to work, have a discussion or deal with something confidential if required. They also allow officers and PSCOs to take a break whilst on patrol using the kitchen and toilet facilities. Located in the heart of the local communities, officers will be more accessible to the public while they're going about their daily lives.

The stations were not open to the public and officers have not paraded from most of them for several years. The only exception is Malmesbury which is only being used whilst the Royal Wootton Bassett station undergoes significant refurbishment.

Mr Angus Macpherson said: "These new touchdown points will mean officers can work out in the community where the public are, instead of tucked away out of sight in unfit for purpose police stations. I've invested heavily in technology, so officers can work from anywhere and don't need to be tethered to a desk to carry out their work. Using shared locations as touchdown points means we're able to save valuable funds whilst still serving the public and still being able to react quickly if required.

"Every pound we save on running our estate is a pound protected for front line policing. 

"Sharing locations with our partners is not a new concept. We have been doing so successfully at various locations around the county for several years now and I have always been clear that I will not shut a police station until a suitable alternative has been agreed."

Wiltshire South Inspector Pete Sparrow said: "Under our Community Policing model, officers and staff no longer need to return to a police station to do paperwork. They can now do that and more, whilst out and about, thanks to a major investment in mobile technology by the Commissioner.