OPCC reaffirms its commitment to the military community
A commitment to ensuring members of the Armed Forces are not adversely affected by their service was reaffirmed by the county's police and crime commissioner yesterday.
Wiltshire PCC Philip Wilkinson joined senior military and civilian leaders to sign the Wiltshire Council Armed Forces Covenant. This recognises the service of people in the Armed Forces and commits those signing the covenant to do all they can to ensure Service Personnel are treated fairly and not disadvantaged in their day-to-day lives.
The Wiltshire Council area is home to around a fifth of the British Army. There are currently 19,000 serving personnel across all branches of the Armed Forces, 19,000 dependents and approximately 53,600 veterans in Wiltshire.
Mr Wilkinson said: “Public service, in all its forms, is the cornerstone of our democracy and we should endeavour to support those who have unique circumstances which may adversely affect them as a result of serving their country. Both the OPCC and the force work closely with our military partners in Wiltshire but we can always look at different ways of to make that partnership more effective.
“Providing, and improving where necessary, that support to military veterans and their families is also a key factor within my police and crime plan – my office will be ensuring there is improved support and additional help for veterans in the criminal justice system.
"We are also exploring ways in which those with military service can bring those valuable skills in to Wiltshire’s force so we are providing employment opportunities post service too.”
Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council and Cabinet Member for Military Civilian Integration, signed the document with Colonel Gary McDade, Commander South West alongside Chief Constable Kier Pritchard, Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson, Paul Moorby, Chair of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Darren Langdown, Area Manager for Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue.
Colonel Gary McDade, Commander South West said: “The Armed Forces, and the Army in particular, are part of the fabric of Wiltshire, therefore I'm delighted that Wiltshire Council has re-affirmed its commitment to the Forces community by signing the covenant today.
"The covenant encourages serving personnel, their families, and veterans to be active members of the local society and there are few counties where the military community is as large or well-established as in Wiltshire. In re-signing the covenant today, Wiltshire Council's commitment is clear, as is their understanding and recognition of the value in supporting our Armed Forces. We are extremely grateful for the council's continued support.”
Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said: “Wiltshire has a rich military history and we are proud to work alongside our colleagues from the Armed Forces. Over the years Wiltshire Police has forged strong relationships with our partners in the military and many of our officers and staff come from a military background.
"The skills gained from military training and the pride in serving the public means that ex-military personnel are ideally suited to a career within policing - the signing of the military covenant underlines our commitment to supporting people in transitioning from a military career to a policing career.
"Additionally, in my role as Chair of the Wiltshire Local Resilience Forum I have seen first-hand the invaluable contribution that our military colleagues provide supporting major incidents across our County – building and maintaining strong working relationships with the military is absolutely vital in helping to keep the public safe and protect our communities.”