Agenda and minutes

Wiltshire Police and Crime Panel - Thursday 18 January 2024 10.30 am

Venue: Kennet Committee Room, County Hall, Trowbridge

Contact: Matt Hitch  Email:


No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from:


·       Louise Williams

·       Denisa Ahmeti



It was noted that Swindon Borough Council would be appointing substitute members at their Full Council meeting later in the day.


Minutes and Matters Arising

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 14 December 2023 as a true and correct record.

Supporting documents:


On the proposal of Cllr Tony Pickernell, seconded by Cllr Vijay Manro, it was resolved to make the:




The minutes of the meeting held on 14 December 2023 were agreed as a true and correct record.


Declarations of interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.


There were no declarations of interest.


Chairman's Announcements

To receive announcements through the Chairman.


The Chairman announced that, on 10 January, the Home Affairs Select Committee had heard further evidence for their inquiry reviewing the impact of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) over the past decade. He reminded the Panel that a link to watch the hearing had been circulated to them. He reported that the Home Affairs Select Committee would aim to produce its report in advance of the PCC elections in May 2024.


Cllr Ross Henning stated that he had watched the hearing and was interested to note the discussions relating to whether there would be a benefit in expanding the PCC’s role to include fire, probation and youth services.


For the benefit of members not able to attend the previous meeting, the Chairman reminded the Panel that the PCC’s Chief Financial Officer, Clive Barker, would be retiring. Clive’s role would be filled on an interim basis until such time that a permanent appointment could be made. It was not the intention to hold a hearing to confirm the interim appointment. However, it was noted that when the Panel was informed of the PCC’s preferred candidate to fill the role on a permanent basis, then they would hold a confirmation hearing. The Chairman reiterated that the Panel did not have the ability to veto the appointment but would be invited to make a recommendation.


On behalf of the Panel, the Chairman then wished Clive a very happy retirement.


Public Participation

The Panel welcomes contributions from members of the public.



If you would like to make a statement at this meeting on any item on this agenda, please register to do so at least 10 minutes prior to the meeting. Up to 3 speakers are permitted to speak for up to 3 minutes each on any agenda item. Please contact the officer named on the front of the agenda for any further clarification.



To receive any questions from members of the public received in accordance with the Panel’s constitution.


Please note that questions must relate to the responsibilities and functions of the Panel and must not relate directly to operational policing matters.


Those wishing to ask questions are required to give notice of any such questions in writing to the officer named on the front of this agenda no later than 5pm on Thursday 11 January 2024 in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response, questions must be submitted no later than 5pm on Monday 15 January 2024.Please contact the officer named on the front of this agenda for further advice. Questions may be asked without notice if the Chairman decides that the matter is urgent.


Details of any questions received will be circulated to Committee members prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on Wiltshire Council’s website.


Supporting documents:


The Chairman referred the Panel to the questions submitted by Mr Chris Caswill and the written responses provided in Agenda Supplement 2.


Proposed PCC Budget 2024/25 and Mid Term Financial Strategy

To consider the proposals from the Police and Crime Commissioner and receive a presentation from the Chief Financial Officer of his office. 


Report to follow.

Supporting documents:


Clive Barker, the Chief Financial Officer in the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office (OPCC) delivered a presentation about the proposed budget for the forthcoming financial year as well as the mid-term financial strategy. The Chief Financial Officer gave an overview of the national and local context in which the proposals had been made, before outlining the different areas of expenditure and some of the key pressures facing the budget. He gave details about the different sources of revenue available to Wiltshire Police and identified a number of efficiency savings that had been proposed. The implications of adopting alternative financial strategies on Wiltshire Police were also highlighted to give the Panel an informed view about the choices available and why they were advocating a £13 increase in the precept on the average Band D property in 2024/25. During the presentation, key points included:


·       Funding came primarily through a central grant from the Home Office and the local council tax precept.

·       Whilst there had been a significant increase in the central grant from the Home Office, the majority of the uplift was to fund the nationally agreed seven percent pay rise as well as a 3.2 percent increase in police officer pension costs. The real increase after these costs was 1.9 percent, approximately £1.5 million.

·       Increasing the precept on the average Band D property would raise an additional £3.5 million in funding for the OPCC. 

·       Outside London, police forces in England and Wales were expected to each achieve between £2 million and £7 million in efficiency savings.

·       Wiltshire had the second worst funded PCC per head of population, £203.45 per person compared to an average of £230.68. If funded at the average rate, Wiltshire would have an additional £20.3 million in funding.

·       Wiltshire had a lower rate of council tax than other regional forces and, even with a £13 increase on the average Band D property, it would still be the lowest in South West England. All other forces in the region were expecting to advocate a £13 increase, with the possible exceptions of Avon & Somerset and Devon & Cornwall.

·       There was predicted to be a lower than expected council tax base increase in 2024/25 which would impact on the medium term financial strategy. However, it was possible that this would be revised up from 0.6 percent.

·       The government’s comprehensive spending review for 2025/26 was ‘cash flat’ suggesting a requirement to achieve 2.3 percent in efficiency savings for non-protected departments, such as the Home Office. Therefore, the medium-term financial strategy anticipated that there would be a greater reliance on precept increases to meet cost pressures.

·       The removal of the capital grant in 2023/23 meant that there would be a need to transfer some revenue spending to spend on capital projects.

·       The PCC was prioritising funding areas that make essential improvements to the force, such as performance management. Emphasis was being put on making the most of equipment available to improve efficiency, including by employing three new digital advisers.

·       To fund these improvements, as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


The Police and Crime Commissioner's Precept Consultation Process

To consider a paper about the consultation. 


Report to follow.

Supporting documents:


Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Philip Wilkinson, OBE, MPhil, referred the Panel to the report on pages 53 to 56 of Agenda Supplement 1. He explained that his office had been conducting a consultation on the proposed budget for Wiltshire Police, including the proposed precept increase in 2024/25. As of the previous day, 2,254 responses to the consultation had been received. 86 percent of those that took part stated that they would welcome more investment into Wiltshire Police and 69 percent said they that they would support an increase in the precept of between £10 and £20. The PCC felt that the statistics showed widespread support for the police and emphasised the need to continue to build trust with the public. During the discussion, points included:


·       The Panel welcomed the report on the consultation so far.

·       The consultation would be open until 29 January.

·       The survey had included responses from a wide cross section of society, with questionnaires given out at supermarkets, Swindon Football Club and Bath Rugby.

·       A number of free social media posts had reached around 2,500 people each.

·       Some members of the Panel suggested that the high level of support for increased funding reflected the need for improved policing.

·       The PCC welcomed suggestions about how the consultation could be improved.


On the proposal of Cllr Sudha Sri Nukana, seconded by Cllr Vijay Manro, it was resolved to make the:




To note the report on the consultation process with Wiltshire and Swindon residents so far.



To receive an update on how the Police and Crime Panel can improve its communications with the wider public.


The Chairman reported that the recording of the Panel’s previous meeting had been viewed on YouTube around 50 times and encouraged members to share their videos.


Reflecting on public feedback about the publication of the Panel’s agendas, the Panel requested that they be published as soon as possible.


The Democratic Services Officer explained that Wiltshire Council would work together with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) to try to ensure that agendas were published in a timely manner. He also noted that public participation deadlines had recently been extended and explained the statutory requirements for agenda publication outlined in Protocol 12 and Part 5 of Wiltshire Council’s constitution.


The Chief Executive of the Office of the OPCC, Naji Darwish, emphasised that it was important for the papers to contain as up to date as possible and that papers were almost always provided in line with the processes agreed between Wiltshire Council and the OPCC. He also noted that the information contained in the reports was often compiled from multiple sources, including the constabulary and partner agencies, so it would be very difficult for them to be published earlier given their governance cycle.


When asked for an update on the progress made towards improving the part of the Wiltshire Council’s website about the Panel, the Chairman noted that the text had been reviewed to make sure that it was up to date and all of the Panel’s agendas and minutes were listed.


Forward Work Plan

To note the forward work plan.

Supporting documents:


The Panel noted the forward work plan. They asked to be kept updated on the improvements being put in place following historic failures relating to Clare’s Law disclosures.


Any Other Business

An opportunity for Members to raise any other matters, or questions for the Police and Crime Commissioner.


In response to a query about how the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) was liaising with the Criminal Prosecution Service to reduce delays, the PCC stated that he chaired the Criminal Justice Board and they were working to identify disconnects in the system to reduce delays.


When asked whether it might be possible for members of the Panel to go out on patrol with the police, to get a greater insight into their work, the PCC noted that this could potentially be arranged.


The PCC provided an update on the investigation into historic failures relating to the Clare’s Law disclosure scheme, which allows individuals to request information about their partner’s history of abusive behaviour. The PCC stressed the importance of ensuring that the public had the confidence to come forward. He noted that domestic abuse awareness training was taking place and that historic incidents were being investigated by the Independent Office of Police Conduct. He also underlined that the Chief Constable and he were taking the situation extremely seriously and were determined to ensure that failures were not repeated.


Future Meeting Dates

To note the future meeting dates below:



·       Thursday 8 February 2024, 10:30am – Council Chamber, Monkton Park

·       Thursday 7 March 2024, 10:30am – Council Chamber, County Hall

·       Thursday 27 June 2024, 10:30am – The Enterprise Network, Salisbury

·       Thursday 26 September 2024, 1:30pm

·       Thursday 14 November 2024, 10:30am



The next meeting of the Police and Crime Panel will be on Thursday 8 February 2024 at 10:30am in the Council Chamber at Monkton Park.


Future meeting dates were confirmed as:


• Thursday 8 February 2024, 10:30am – Council Chamber, Monkton Park

• Thursday 7 March 2024, 10:30am – Council Chamber, County Hall

• Thursday 27 June 2024, 10:30am – The Enterprise Network, Salisbury

• Thursday 26 September 2024, 1:30pm

• Thursday 14 November 2024, 10:30am