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Agenda item

Updates from Partners and Town/Parish Councils

To receive updates from the Town and Parish Council Representatives, and from other partner organisations.

 

·       Police

·       Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service

·       Town and Parish Councils

·       A303 update

 

Minutes:

Updates were received from the following partners:

 

·       Wiltshire Police

Inspector Liz Coles gave a brief update to the meeting. The police had been busy over the last few months. The Rural Crime Team had progressed, Inspector Coles was tactical lead for the team and there had been an uplift in staffing levels for the team with an extra Sergeant and Police Constable. The team launched the week prior to the area board and it was hoped this would see an improvement in tackling and preventing rural crime. The force were working around Amesbury, Tidworth and Ludgershall areas and the surrounding villages, developing intelligence on modern slavery and human trafficking. The force was also continuing to develop intelligence on drug related crimes and numerous drug warrants had been carried out recently. A new proactive team was in place to do more proactive drugs work. Local Community Speed Watch teams were back in action. Organised crime was also being disrupted in the area. There had been some anti-social behaviour in Ludgershall recently with the first closure order for the area being implemented. Harvard Park in Amesbury had also seen some anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour and police presence was being increased to help tackle this. The force were working with schools to look at how the “mini-police” schemes could be continued in a COVID-19 safe way. Neighbourhood meetings were starting back up again online and pub watch was continuing.

In response to a question regarding people trespassing on farms (possibly hare coursing), and whether Farm Watch was still taking place the Inspector confirmed that Farm Watch was still out and about. What’s App groups (including Farm Watch) had been implemented in order to help communication regarding matters such as these and to increase intelligence. It was hoped that over time the Rural Crime Team would help resolve this sort of issue.

Some problems at Durrington River Park were highlighted and the Inspector confirmed the force would keep an eye on this. 

 

·       Town and Parish Councils

Stapleford Parish Council gave a brief update stating that they met bi monthly and at the next meeting in November it was hoped that they would be able to confirm that the parish had created their own Parish Council website, which should be going live soon.

 

·       A303 update

Dave Bullock from Highways England gave an update to the meeting on the A303 project. It was stated that Highways England had been expecting development consent on 17 July, however they received a Parliamentary Statement advising that due to archaeological finds at Durrington Walls the decision had been delayed until 13 November. Highways England felt that the discovery was outside of the scheme boundary and therefore would not impact on the proposed scheme. The procurement process was continuing, to appoint archaeological and preliminary works contractors and talks were under way with main works contractors. Ecological surveys and ground investigations were also underway. The project team were trying to increase communications and ways for the public to interact with them and they could be found on social media, on Twitter: @A303stonehenge and Facebook: @A303stonegehengecommunity.

After the Development Consent Order decision on 13 November the project would enter a preliminary works preparation phase and it was hoped that by Spring 2021 preliminary work could begin on site. It was expected that phase would last around 18 months. Therefore, by Winter 2022 or early 2023 main works would begin. It was hoped that the road would then be in use within 5 years.

 

·       Army Rebasing

The Chairman highlighted the written report provided. Cllr Wright stated that local residents were happy with the work carried out in Larkhill at St Michaels School. Cllr Wright also highlighted that work was due to start on the crossing on the A345, where children from Durrington and Larkhill cross, which was positive.

 

·       Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner

Jerry Herbert, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner gave an update to the meeting.

It was explained that the election for the new PCC and Deputy PCC had been due to take place in May 2020 but had been postponed until May 2021 due to COVID-19. Therefore, the PCC and the Deputy PCC had been invited to stay on for an extra year. The Police and Crime Plan had been updated and was available at www.wiltshire-pcc.gov.uk/Police-and-Crime-Plan. The Annual Report was also available at www.wiltshire-pcc.gov.uk/article/1844/Annual-report.

Details were given regarding ‘Operation Uplift’ and police recruitment. A national announcement by government to increase police officers by 20,000 had been made in 2019. In Wiltshire and Swindon the police force had been at 934 officers, this had been increased and would reach a new figure of 1,050 officers in May 2021.

An update on policing in the pandemic was given. Wiltshire Police followed the College of Policing Guidance to Engage, Explain and Encourage, only Enforcing as a last resort. This had been working well. There had also been high levels of compliance across Wiltshire. The Deputy PCC had been Chairing a Scrutiny panel regarding Fixed Penalty Notices issued for breaching COVID-19 restrictions. The details of which could be found online.

The Deputy PCC also gave an update on Amesbury Police Station. Inspector Liz Coles and her team operated principally out of Amesbury Police Station which was not deemed fit for purpose for 21st Century policing. The PCC had identified in their Estates Strategy that the building needed work. A formal announcement the following week would state that a new police station would be built in Tidworth, alongside a new municipal building to be built there. This would be for Tidworth and Amesbury officers. It was acknowledged that there was some disappointment in the Amesbury area regarding this. There would however be a local footprint in Amesbury. The Amesbury station would probably close in 2023 and a new location would be found in Amesbury to ensure that a small hub could be created there, which would be manned during the day and officers could also work from there.

Some members of the board expressed their disappointment at this decision and felt that a location in Amesbury, which had a much larger population would be more suitable for the new police station. The Deputy PCC sought to reassure the board, stating that the building was being located according to policing demand and that both Tidworth and Amesbury’s needs would be serviced from the new building.

 

The Chairman thanked all the partners for their updates.

 

Supporting documents:

 

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