Agenda item

Partner Updates

To receive updates from the following partners:


·       Wiltshire Police

·       Police and Crime Commissioner

·       Fire and Rescue Service

·       Healthwatch Wiltshire

·       Integrated Care Board (formerly CCG) – including update on Devizes Health Centre

·       Schools updates

·       Town and Parish Councils

·       Devizes Indies

·       Devizes Sustainability Working Group

·       Devizes Opendoors

·       Devizes and District Foodbank


In addition to the written partner updates in the agenda pack the following verbal updates were given, these were taken in a different order to that published in the agenda:


·       Fire and Rescue Service

Station Manager Andrew Laskey gave an update to the meeting. The number of incidents had not increased significantly in the last period, but the type of incidents that had occurred, namely the wildfires, had involved a lot of resources. There had been around 8 domestic incidents and 15 false alarms. Andrew had recently taken over from David Geddes as the station manager for Devizes. In relation to the community safety theme, the service was working with partners to see how they could help support people with the cost of living crisis. In response to questions, it was explained that the ‘Safe and Well’ team worked on prevention and protection. Safe and Well advisors visited vulnerable people to advise on smoke alarms, heat alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. In certain circumstances ‘Warm and Well’ packs were available for vulnerable people which included a blanket, thermos flask and hot water bottle. The service also undertook ‘Safe Drive Stay Alive’ road safety education campaigns, visiting to schools to highlight the dangers and consequences of poor and dangerous driving.


·       Devizes Sustainability Working Group

Graham Martin of Sustainable Devizes gave an update to the meeting. A community fridge was being set up which would be located in the Shambles. A biodiversity strategy was being developed which would link to the Wiltshire Council Green and Blue Infrastructure Plan. A film night was taking place at 7.30pm on Wednesday 28 September at St Andrews Church. There would be a free film screening of ‘The Story of Plastic’, all Board Members and attendees were welcome to attend.  A meeting was due to take place on 6 September at the Town Hall regarding the cost of living crisis to discuss the scale of the problem, what the impacts were and what could be done to help people.


Regarding Safer Cycling - the Devizes Cycling Survey which took place in 2020 highlighted that cyclists do not feel safe in Devizes and the group wanted to make cycling safer. The Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) had been consulted upon in June 2022 and clarity was sought on the next steps in the process. If there was to be another consultation phase Mr Martin hoped that an event could be held, backed by the Area Board and with all relevant stake holders invited, so that the widescale support could be demonstrated. The group hoped to change behaviour to reduce traffic. Where funding would come from was also questioned.


Cllr Tamara Reay, Chair of the Air Quality and Sustainable Transport (AQST) Group thanked Mr Martin for his comments and thanked those within the AQST group who had worked at length on the LCWIP. It was key that the strategy was put in place, as this would help to secure funding. Funding streams could include current and future section 106 money and support from the LHFIG. Significant progress had been made on the LCWIP, but there was still more work to be done, and more debates to be had.


·       Devizes and District Foodbank (DDFB)

Natalie Montegriffo had recently been appointed as the Community Organiser at the Devizes and District Foodbank. Several tonnes of food were supplied in food boxes over the summer to families in financial difficulty. The DDFB was now part of a cohort of 15 food banks in the community organising scheme run by the Trussell Trust. Natalie’s position was a campaigning and researching role and as part of this she was meeting with referral agencies and community groups. She wanted to empower people to know that they can make a difference.


·       Wiltshire Police

Inspector Al Lumley gave an update to the meeting. Crime statistics were similar to the rest of Wiltshire.  Station Road car park had been subject to a 3 month closure order, where it was closed between 6pm and 6am. This was to prevent anti-social behaviour following a serious collision, the investigation into that was ongoing. The closure order had successfully reduced anti-social behaviour. 


Sadly, there had been a murder in Hewitt Court, one person had been arrested and was in custody and no one else was being sought in relation to the crime. The Inspector gave reassurance to the community that this was an isolated crime.


Operation Siege had been underway, which was an operation around residential burglary. Victims of residential burglaries would now be visited by a member of the local neighbourhood team to be given a ‘SelectaDNA’ kit and shown how to use and register it. These kits mark valuable property with a special material that leaves a specific trace behind which can help identify stolen items.


The Inspector was aware that nitrous oxide abuse seemed to be on the rise and the numbers of used cannisters being found was increasing. This was a growing trend across Wiltshire. This presented a challenge for the police as legislation restricted what they could do. Nitrous oxide was not classified as a drug under the misuse of drugs act and the gas was used for a number of lawful reasons so was easily obtainable. Action could only really be taken when people were thought to be supplying the gas for people to abuse. The police would take a public health approach focusing on education.


Cllrs thanked the Inspector for his report. Some concerns were raised that the anti-social behaviour from Station Road car park may have moved to the Lidl car park. Further concerns were raised regarding drinking and drug use in the town centre during the day. The Inspector was aware of issues, however, there was no longer a Public Space Prevention Order (PSPO) in force on the town centre, this having been deemed unnecessary in 2020, so it meant there was little they could do to enforce. The Chairman stated that he would raise this with Devizes Town Council, although it was a lengthy process to get a PSPO in place. A concern was raised that PSPO’s are geographically restricted so just move the problem on to another location. The police would use a public health approach to try to tackle problems, this would need to be a multi-agency approach which required funding and time.


·       Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC)

The PCC, Philip Wilkinson gave an update to the meeting. He stated that Wiltshire Police had been put into special measures. The PCC had been elected a year ago to scrutinise and challenge Wiltshire Police. He wanted to make an effective police force that served the people. He had written 2 highly critical reports on the force; his issues were not with frontline officers, but with support services and strategic leadership. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) agreed with his assessments and had found the force inadequate. The PCC had found the governance arrangements unsatisfactory and had streamlined those arrangements which meant more officers could be released to undertake frontline work. Priorities also included: Increasing prosecutions; decreasing complaints; improved victim satisfaction; community engagement and significant reform measures.


·       Community Speedwatch

John Derryman of Community Speedwatch gave an update to the meeting. There were 5 active Speedwatch teams in the Devizes area and over 100,00 vehicles had bene monitored in the last 2 years by those teams, with nearly 60,000 letters being issued. People were encouraged to get involved and visit for details. Traffic enforcement officers had been increased from 1 to 3 and an additional administrator was being recruited. There were 93 Speed Indicator Devices (SIDs) over Wiltshire and Swindon. The pros and cons of SIDs were discussed. Cllrs hoped that the PCC may be able to direct some of the money saved by his reforms into this area.


Cllr Laura Mayes arrived at 7.15pm.

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