Review of police estate reveals a new solution is needed
A review of police estate in Salisbury, and the south of the county, has revealed the current shared space will not meet Wiltshire Police’s future operational requirements in its existing format.
Wiltshire’s PCC Philip Wilkinson has now instructed his office to look at a variety of options to provide those future policing requirements in Salisbury after the clear, strategic, direction from Wiltshire Police’s senior leadership team.
The review was carried out as the first step in the process after Mr Wilkinson listened to concerns from the Force, after speaking with staff and officers in the months since being elected and from hearing residents’ concerns while he was campaigning.
Once all options have been looked at, Mr Wilkinson has pledged a full public consultation with Wiltshire Police, both local authorities, residents, councillors, Salisbury’s MP, staff and officers, having valuable input.
Mr Wilkinson said: “Our challenge will be finding the right way to improve the policing situation that works for our officers and staff now, and in the future, and delivers the police service our beautiful city of Salisbury deserves.
“We know this will require compromise somewhere, be that location, configuration or simply balancing policing need with the city’s aspirations and the finances available to me.
“One thing I will not compromise on is the need to ensure that all interested parties are engaged fully in the process and can have their opinions heard and listened to.
“Once my police and crime plan has been finalised, I intend to bring all options and possible solutions to the people of Salisbury.”
A quality policing service
Currently Salisbury Police share space at Bourne Hill.
Due to a need for more space to work from, as a result of the pandemic, and extra officers, as a result of Uplift, the review concluded while the current site has some facilities needed to support an agile police force in the 21st century, it does not meet all future requirements.
Mr Wilkinson said: “Both the Chief Constable and I believe that to deliver a quality policing service, which keeps our communities safe, we must invest in our staff and ensure they have all they need to operate effectively for years to come.
“This is what I intend to do, but, at this stage, I am keeping an open mind as to what those solutions are. It could be an entirely new, purpose-built, station or it could be a building that we re-purpose to make it fit our needs.
“I want Salisbury’s communities to have officers who are able to operate effectively while the ability of neighbourhood policing teams to be more visible and accessible to the public is enhanced.
“We are really grateful to our partners at Wiltshire Council. Wiltshire Police has successfully shared a space with them for the last six years and will continue to do so successfully while we look at all options available to us.”
Listening to views
Chief Constable Kier Pritchard added: “Upon the appointment of Mr Wilkinson as the new Police and Crime Commissioner, my leadership team and I raised our concerns in relation to how our current estate provision was not meeting all of the operational policing requirements in the south of the county.
“This was based upon us listening to the views of our officers and staff working there and also further to undertaking a review of our requirements in the medium-to-long term, where we have had to consider the implications of working within an uncertain environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic and also the increase in police officer numbers we expect to see in line with the national Uplift programme.
“Having worked very successfully with partners over the years with regard to shared estate in the south, these two elements in particular do mean that we will, in the future, require more space in order to provide an operationally appropriate environment from which my officers and staff can operate.
“The PCC has listened to my concerns and we are both in agreement that, going forward, it is sensible to explore estate options so that we can be best placed to provide the very best possible police service to our communities in Salisbury and the surrounding area.”