By Kieran Kilgallen, Acting Police and Crime Commissioner
Since May, and the election which saw a disbarred candidate named as the public’s choice for PCC, Wiltshire’s Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has continued with business as usual.
We may not have had an elected official at the helm but our executive team and committed staff kept the show on the road: ensuring consistency and leadership.
The office has still managed to achieve a great deal in that time, delivering the inaugural meeting of a new Youth Commission, securing more than £400,000 to make Swindon’s streets safer and bringing in more than £340,000 funding to support victims of domestic abuse in Wiltshire and Swindon. These are no mean feats and people’s lives will be improved as a result.
If anyone ever questions why one would work in public service, it’s these examples which should be given. Making our communities safer and improving residents’ lives is crucial.
It is also important to recognise that unless you avidly follow the news or politics, that many residents would not have noticed a change in the way things are being run.
Our strategic policing priorities for Wiltshire remained the same, the budget was set and agreed earlier this year and day-to-day operational policing, which is the responsibility of the Chief Constable, remained unaffected.
Quite rightly, once quorate, the Police and Crime Panel were keen to secure an Acting PCC as soon as legally possible to ensure that consistency – but also to ensure the Chief Constable remained accountable to the OPCC and that, in turn, the OPCC remained accountable to them.
It is also reassurance for the public that the OPCC still has an outside body providing scrutiny of its work in a time when there isn’t an elected PCC to take decisions.
So, earlier this week, when Wiltshire Council posted a Notice of Vacancy against the Police and Crime Commissioner role in the county, I moved from my Chief Executive role to that of Acting PCC and I will remain in that position until the new PCC is elected and takes up office on 26 August.
I know there be some wondering about public money and how it is being spent, so I thought I would reassure you that the PCC salary has not been drawn since the departure of the former PCC Angus Macpherson and nor will it be until our new PCC takes office.
Wiltshire Council has also officially posted a Notice of Election for 19 August. This means that in just over a month, a new PCC will be taking the oath. It also means that my office, and the Force, enter a pre-election period where we are restricted in what we can and can’t talk about, so you may see us as a little quiet over the coming weeks.
So I would urge all those who are eligible to vote, to turn out on 19 August, mark your X and have your say on who you want to run policing over the next few years. It’s the biggest influence you have over your county.