Agenda item

Partner Updates

To receive updates from any of the following partners:


·       Wiltshire Police

·       Police and Crime Commissioner

·       Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service

·       Healthwatch Wiltshire

·       Community First

·       BSW Together (Integrated Care System)

·       Wiltshire AGE UK

·       Town and Parish Councils


The Chairman noted the written updates from Healthwatch Wiltshire, Community First, BSW Together (Integrated Care System) and Wiltshire AGE UK included in the agenda pack. The Area Board received verbal updates from the following partners:


·       Wiltshire Police


Neighbourhood Sergeant Chris Wickham guided those in attendance through the contents of Wiltshire Police’s latest Area Board update, highlighting progress on 101 triaging, crime statistics and trends (including a rise in burglary) and the work of the community speed enforcement team. Sergeant Wickham also promoted the use of Wiltshire Police’s Community Messaging Service to better engage with the work the police were doing.


The Chairman asked whether anti-social behaviour, which was considered a local priority in Devizes but not a force-wide operational priority, had reduced in volume or been overshadowed by more serious issues. Sergeant Wickham noted that it remained on the police’s radar but that it had indeed seen a reduction across the county. Steve Dewar asked if there could be a concerted effort to ensure that the messaging around knife crime made it clearer that while knife crime was a tragic reality even in rural communities, it was still a very rare occurrence and not something of which young people should be anxious.


·       Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office


Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson spoke to the recent improvements being undertaken by Wiltshire Police as a result of his office’s work. These improvements included shortening wait times for 999 and 101 calls, enhanced IT systems and higher success rates resolving sexual harassment and assault. He noted the work being conducted to disrupt county lines drug trafficking across the South-West of England, and the measures being taken to address rural crime. He described Operation Ragwort, a plan to build a robust rural crime intelligence network across the South-West. 192 speed enforcement sanctions in 2021, over 12,000 so far in 2023. The PCC noted that anti-social behaviour was indeed dropping but was still subject to scrutiny and needed a collaborative and comprehensive response working alongside Wiltshire Police. He also noted the work being done to improve victim support in the county. He also praised the work of Chief Constable Catherine Roper and endorsed her new Community Engagement Strategy that was being finalised.


Councillor Simon Jacobs asked whether there was a link between a reduction in 999 calls was due to improvements in 101 responses. The PCC responded that it was possibly part of the reason but added that a more pressing issue that emerged from a recent rural crime survey was people not reporting crimes due to a lack of confidence. Councillor Kelvin Nash lauded the work being done to tackle speeding in Devizes but noted the sluggishness of Speed Watch and the difficulties in getting it set up. He added that he would be happy to liaise with future Speed Watch groups to ensure a similar experience was not endured by others.


Councillor Tamara Reay asked what more could be done to address rural crime. The PCC replied that he was keen to ensure that there would be zero no-go zones in Wiltshire under his watch. The representative from Rowde Parish Council thanked the PCC for his help in supporting the Parish Council get the Community Speed Watch team in place and Councillor Dominic Muns noted his own positive experience with improved 999 response times. A member of the public asked about speed enforcement on the M4, and the PCC responded that there would always be at least one police chase car situated on the Wiltshire stretch of the M4 at all times.


·       Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service


Station Manager Terry Crawford introduced himself to the Devizes Area Board following his recent appointment. He noted the following significant statistics from the last quarter: one deliberate fire, five accidental fires and three road traffic collisions. He added that the statistics were wholly satisfactory from his point of view, tending towards the low end of average.


Station Manager Crawford’s full report is attached to these minutes.


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