Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson releases Annual Report 2019/20
A year of dramatic challenge and change
In this year of dramatic challenge and change, Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson has increased the number of police officers by 41, secured the recruitment of a further 65 officers in 2020/21, brought specialist operations back under local control and met the challenge of a global pandemic thanks in part to investment in mobile technology.
Today's publication of the PCC's Annual Report for 2019/20 provides a comprehensive overview of progress and achievements of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner over the past year - which maintains a 'Good' rating from independent Government inspectors - and sets out the solid foundations that have been put in place for the future.
Highlights from the year:
Increased funding to boost police officer numbers:
With the support of the people of Wiltshire and Swindon, the PCC was able to increase the precept element of council tax to pay for additional officers on the beat.
Additional government 'uplift' coupled with a further increase in local funding will help to pay for 65 more police officers to be recruited from April 2020. This significant boost will be directed entirely at increasing resources for community policing, reflecting the PCC's strongly held belief in the effectiveness of directly engaging with the communities where we live.
Adapting to the significant challenges of COVID-19:
Thanks to prudent investment in mobile technology, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and Wiltshire Police have been able to react to the challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic and rapidly adapt to the unprecedented situation - continuing to maintain an excellent service by remote working whilst protecting staff. Throughout the ongoing crisis, the PCC has been involved in the Covid response at the highest level, arranging regular briefings with MPs, representatives from NHS trusts and local councils. In addition, Deputy PCC Jerry Herbert oversees the scrutiny panel for the issue of fixed penalty notices issued for breaching government rules, leading the way in transparency.
Through its £50,000 Covid-19 response fund, the OPCC has also sought to support community and voluntary groups that have been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.
And thanks to the Government's £76m Covid-19 response fund, the OPCC was able to distribute its £244,000 share to charities and organisations in Wiltshire that provide tailored support services to victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence. The extra funding was aimed at meeting the additional costs to these organisations of adapting their services during the pandemic, and to cope with increased demand.
Bringing back local control of Specialist Operations:
Specialist police teams such as firearms, dog units and roads policing, formerly shared with neighbouring forces under the Tri-Force collaboration, are back under the control of Wiltshire Police. This has the advantage of ensuring that specialist skills can be now used to support Community Policing Teams in a more direct way.
Specialist operations teams now operate solely within the Force boundary, providing a dedicated service to local communities. The arrangement means that the Police and Crime Commissioner can fully hold the Chief Constable to account for actions of these policing teams, on behalf of the people of Swindon and Wiltshire.
Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said: "I would like to take this opportunity to say how proud I am to have served the people of Swindon and Wiltshire as PCC since my election in 2012. In that time I have striven to ensure that the people I serve have the very best police force, one that is both efficient and effective.
"As set out in my Police and Crime plan, the OPCC has four priorities: Prevent crime and keep people safe, Protect the most vulnerable people in society, Put victims and witnesses at the heart of everything we do and Secure a quality police service that is trusted and efficient.
"My annual report sets out how these key demands are being met and the additional work that is being carried out to ensure that wider policing priorities reflect the concerns from the Wiltshire and Swindon communities I serve.
"Protecting the most vulnerable is the measure of a civilised society and as Police and Crime commissioner, I have ensured that this at the heart of my work. Throughout the year I have continued to invest in organisations such as Horizon victim and witness care, and Restorative Justice, which do so much to support victims of crime at a time when they need it the most.
"With this in mind, I'm delighted that my commitment to dramatically boost the number of Wiltshire police officers has won the support of the public who have backed the necessary increase in the police part of the council tax to allow this to happen.
"In addition to the increase last year, Wiltshire Police is set to recruit 65 more police officers by March, and is also committed to keeping 131 Police Community Support officers to provide visible local policing.
"I am also pleased to say that we have been able to push ahead with my Estates Strategy with the purchase of new estate in Warminster and significant investments being made to improve Royal Wootton Bassett, Swindon Gablecross and Devizes HQ.
"Thanks to the commitment and skill of OPCC and Wiltshire Police colleagues, I can proudly say that Wiltshire and Swindon remain safe places to live and work - with recorded crime significantly below the average when compared to similar forces. I hope the measures I have put in place and the priorities I have set out will ensure that the OPCC and Wiltshire Police are in the best possible shape to meet future challenges with confidence."
The PCC's Annual Report 2019/20 can be viewed and downloaded by following this link