This week saw the release of the latest crime figures in Wiltshire and, to be honest, they came as no surprise.
Violence against the person offences, which can be anything ranging from harassment to the most serious cases like murder and GBH, rose by 9% in the three months leading up to December 2021, compared to the same period in 2019.
It has become increasingly clear that as we came out of lockdown last summer, and people were able to mix more freely, then these types of incidents were going to happen. We’ve seen this repeated in all our major towns and, sadly, in Salisbury where a man lost his life.
It goes without saying that violent crime doesn’t only have an impact on victims but also on the wider communities where it happens. The reputation attached to areas where there’s frequent incidents of violence isn’t a fair representation of the majority of people who live or work there. That’s why we need to work hard to make sure that those responsible are not only brought to justice but pointed in the right direction to make sure they don’t reoffend.
My police and crime plan identifies violent crime as a key priority for both Wiltshire Police and my office for the next three years and looks at practical measures to reduce offences and make Wiltshire safer.
What will begin to help the police carry out this responsibility is the increase in officer numbers that we’re beginning to see on our streets.
In the past two years, nearly 100 new officers have joined the Force in addition to those recruited to replace those leaving or retiring, with more due to start in the next year. This will see Wiltshire at its highest number of 1,165 police officers in March 2023 from its lowest figure of 934.
The important part of this for me, is that you see these new officers where you live and that they are engaging with communities and working on the issues that matter to you in your area and your street.
That’s why I’ve worked with the Chief Constable to make sure that visible community policing is central to any future plans.
As a result of this, the majority of the extra officers who have been recruited so far have been deployed to community policing teams with the aim of improving our engagement with you.
We need them on the front line to act as a visual deterrent to all crime and to be able to respond more quickly when a crime takes place. It’s equally important that our police officers and PCSOs are accessible and easier to find if you have information you want to share with them.
It’s through building and maintaining these relationships that we’ll have the information we need to prevent crime and make Wiltshire a safer place to live.
Published on Saturday 20 April 2022
Police and Crime Plan 2022 - 2025 #MakingWiltshireSafer
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Philip Wilkinson, presents priority one from his 'Making Wiltshire Safer: Wiltshire and Swindon’s Police and Crime Plan 2022 - 2025'.