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Agenda item

Partner Updates

To receive updates from the following partners:


·       Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service

·       Wiltshire Police

·       Schools updates

·       Healthwatch Wiltshire

·       CCG B&ANES, Swindon and Wiltshire

·       Town and Parish Councils

·       Devizes indies

·       Sustainable Devizes

·       Devizes Opendoors


In addition to the written partner updates in the agenda the following verbal updates were given:


·       Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service

David Geddes of the DWFRS referred attendees to the written report in the agenda. Recruitment was was highlighted, Devizes Fire Station was an on call station and more on call firefighters were needed. Further information could be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/working-for-us/on-call-firefighters/. Devizes station had received 72 call outs in the period 1 September 2021 to 23 November 2021 and just over half of those were false alarms. 4 of the call outs had been for chimney fires, so the representative stressed the importance of making sure chimneys were swept and serviced. In response to questions regarding the recent waste fire at a landfill site in Devizes, the representative explained that due to the amount of damage the actual cause of the fire would probably never be known but it was possible that it had been caused by the careless disposal of batteries, so people were reminded of the importance of disposing of batteries properly. Cllr Tamara Reay thanked the service for the help they had provided with flooding in Potterne.


·       Wiltshire Police

Inspector Allen Lumley gave an update to the meeting and ran through the update published with the agenda. Sergeant Gareth Cole, a new member of the Devizes Community Police Team was now in place. The overall volume of crime had reduced by 7% in the last year and there had been a 31% reduction in burglaries.


Officer verification checks had been introduced as a result of the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving MET Police officer. These checks would mean that if a person was stopped by police, they could request that the officer verify that they were conducting lawful business. To do this the officer would put their radio on loudspeaker and contact the control room for verification. The aim of this was to reassure the public and help to build confidence.


It was stated that anti-social behaviour was an ongoing issue in the Quakers Walk/Keepers Road area. The majority of youths responsible were known and a multi-agency approach was being taken to tackle the issue, although this would not be a quick fix.


There had been a decrease in rural crime compared to the same period last year, however there had been some issues with hare coursing.


There had been a spike in bike thefts, some key suspects had been arrested and people were reminded to be careful with their bikes, ensuring they were locked up in secure areas.


The Deputy PCC, Russell Holland stated that Operation Sceptre focusing on knife crime and a weapons amnesty had been a success, with over 450 knifes being handed over. Speeding which was an ongoing issue was also mentioned and the Deputy PCC explained that more cameras had been ordered to help with speeding enforcement.


·       Schools Update


Ralph Plummer, Headteacher of Lavington School gave an update to the meeting. The school was busy approaching Christmas and everyone was looking forward to a production of Matilda taking place that week. A year 11 mock interview day had been held with a range of diverse employers attending and the year 11’s were now undertaking their mock exams. Things were moving in a positive direction regarding COVID. At the end of term 1 infection rates among pupils at the school had been very high, but now numbers were the lowest they had been since September. However, staff absences had resulted in extra pressures. The School were concerned about the long-term budget implications of fuel costs after prices had at least doubled.


Mark Lascelles, Headteacher, Dauntsey’s School, stated that the situation at Dauntsey’s was similar to Lavington. COVID had resulted in pressures on staff and pupils. There were also concerns regarding mental health pressures on the students, as a result of COVID and the pressures faced by year 11 and 13 regarding their exams.


·       Devizes Indies

Although unable to attend the meeting Devizes Indies sent a brief update which included the QR codes that they received funding for were up around Devizes and looking great; the maps they had produced were in multiple retailers and they had noticed a significant number of visitors to Devizes and Devizes Indies were working with Sustainable Devizes on ‘Turning the High Street Green’ which would be launching early in 2022.


·       Sustainable Devizes

Graham Martin of Sustainable Devizes gave an update to the meeting. Topics covered included identifying the communities Sustainability Priorities, as part of this a consultation survey containing questions on the attitude to climate change had been underway. The group were pleased with the response rate, with 568 responses received and the demographics of the respondents roughly matched those of Wiltshire. 77% of respondents had climate anxiety and some of the priorities identified covered waste, transport and active travel and biodiversity. Upcoming for the group was the Active Travel Devizes Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) and a biodiversity event. The group had applied for a lottery grant with Devizes Indies for the production if a reusable Devizes cup and they were also working on a Sustainable High Street project.


The group highlighted their aim to increase dialogue with the parishes and Members suggested that they email the parish clerks. Representatives of Bishop Cannings and Market Lavington Parish Councils stated that they would be interested in working with the group.


Cllr Tamara Reay thanked the group for their hard work and highlighted the resolution passed by the Board in September 2021 where the Board committed to work with organisations, residents and businesses across the Devizes Community Area to create a sustainable Devizes.


·       Devizes Opendoors

Noel Woolrych gave an update to the meeting. The Devizes Opendoors centre was open four days a week, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. They also provided hot melas three days a week. The service was a success with one service user had stating that they liked going to the centre as it felt like home. The organisation was happy to rent out the space when it was not being used. The official opening event had been postponed due to COVID.

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