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Challenges on show

FOLLOWING Wiltshire Police’s participation in the Channel 4 show 999 What’s Your Emergency, I would like to point out that Wiltshire and Swindon are some of the safest places in the country.

We have achieved this through the hard work of all of our front line staff in all of our local public services.

Wiltshire Police enjoy excellent working relationships with other emergency services, local authority colleagues and other agencies.

There is no doubt in my mind that we have collectively achieved this through effective partnership, a collaborative approach and fantastic support from our communities.

Wiltshire Police, along with the other emergency services signed up to participate in this programme because I believed it is an authentic portrayal of the complexities, demands and challenges our front line officers and staff face on a daily basis.

The show gave the public a snapshot of the outstanding work my officers and staff do every minute of every day while facing unprecedented levels of demand.

I am particularly proud of the courage, professionalism, compassion, humanity, sensitivity, tenacity, understanding, warmth, kindness and patience our front line staff have exhibited.

We signed up to this project with the sole purpose of highlighting the changing nature of demand all the emergency services are now dealing with within the county, which is no different to any other part of the country.

This programme provided us all with an opportunity to understand, recognise and celebrate the tireless work our front line colleagues do, not just from a policing perspective but from a wider public service perspective.

Whether they work in the ambulance service, fire and rescue, our prisons, our hospitals, our schools, people engaged in youth and social work and other settings within social care, we should pay tribute to them at this challenging time, as resources reduce and the demands increase.

Partnership working is a fundamental part of tackling some of the issues shown in the documentary and we will continue to work closely with other agencies to best protect and police all our communities.


Where is cash going?

TO ADD to the current wave of letters abut how the police act, can I add the following and ask what is going on?

Three weeks ago, we had a break-in at our allotment site. Eight sheds were broken into, various items were stolen or just thrashed, and I reported it to the police on the 101 number.

The lady who answered said she was unable to give me a crime number for each tenant and so gave me a number and said everybody else would have to contact me ant then use that number (does this cut down the crime numbers?).

She then asked me for details of the damage etc, I told her of several items left on the road etc, so she said the forensic team would call and get details. They did.

I then received a call from a sergeant at the Gablecross policestation, who told me that the forensic team had not got any prints so that was no good, and then I was emailed to say that due to my complaint, someone would be in touch. Three weeks on I am still waiting for a call but I expect to be told that the case is now closed due to lack of evidence.

The residents of Swindon are giving the Police and Crime Commissioner, in precept payments, about £12m a year but don’t ever ask for how it is spent, as they won’t tell you.

T REYNOLDS, Wheeler Avenue, Swindon

Debate on pupils’ skills

We all know the quote “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.” In other words, statistics can mean almost anything. It depends on the way they were collected – and how they are presented.

It may be a good thing that Swindon’s primary schools are among some of the most improved in the country for their Key Stage 2 results (SA September 28) but, as we see further on in the report, this improvement only puts them on a par with the national average, with 61 per cent of 11-year olds now reaching the required standards in reading, writing and maths.

If the required standards are a meaningful, sensible measure of ability in these subjects (and it is a big ‘if’ in my experience of government-set standards or targets), then this means that fewer than two thirds of children aged 11 have adequate skills in ‘reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic’ (the ‘three Rs’) when they go to secondary school.

Or, put the other way round, more than a third of them are not up to scratch. This, surely, must be a bad thing.

So, is it that the standards are unrealistic or irrelevant? Is it that the teachers are failing to do their job?

Or, is it that more than a third of our children are illiterate and innumerate and, so, will struggle through life, both in secondary school and beyond?

MALCOLM MORRISON, Prospect Hill, Old Town, Swindon

In the name of God, go

Can you recall when the Adver headline was Robert Buckland’s quote that 2017 must be the ‘year of delivery’?

Yet in the Adver on September 29 Coun Garry Perkins tells readers that town centre regeneration is set to be slow and suggests “it could be a couple of years before any construction gets under way.”

Forward Swindon is wholly owned by Swindon Borough Council and acts as its development arm. It is responsible for key town centre projects, including Kimmerfields, the Railway Village and Aspen House.

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland also said: “I expect to see movement on the town centre sites. I expect to see a focus on the Kimmerfields site - it has been stalled for far too long and I’m losing patience.” Him and the whole of Swindon I suspect.

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson has called on Swindon Borough Council to call time on Forward Swindon arguing that: “We’ve had 15 years of promises from Forward Swindon with regard to delivering town centre regeneration.

“We’ve seen other parts of Swindon such as Regent Circus, the Orbital, Mannington and the Outlet Village all regenerated without Forward Swindon’s interference.”

For an example of real regeneration you only have to look to the successful Outlet Village, where a combination of residential development in keeping with the heritage of the site sits alongside what is surely the town’s retail heart.

To quote Cromwell in respect of Forward Swindon “You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.”

DES MORGAN, Caraway Drive, Swindon

Tory smear is unjust

Having had two letters in the SA in the last three weeks I wanted to give my pen a rest for a week or two but on reading Justin Tomlinson’s column on September 29 I thought differently.

After seven years in government and on the eve of the Tory Party conference in Manchester one would have thought he would be upbeat and positive, but as he’s an MP in a coalition of chaos and a Party that’s in constant turmoil, being upbeat and positive is not possible.

So he decides to use his column as an editorial of the Daily Mail and bash Jeremy Corbyn and imply that all followers of him are thugs and are travelling to Manchester to abuse, intimidate and spit at Tory MPs and delegates.

While I’m sure there will be some hot-heads, and even a few anarchists amongst the demonstrators, the majority of them will be decent, law-abiding citizens from all walks of life and all age groups.

So for Justin to smear them as thugs is like equating all Tory followers to Enoch Powell, it’s nonsense and he needs to rescind his words.

He ends his column by asking why there was no demonstration at the Labour Party conference. Maybe it’s got something to do with the Tory policies of austerity which have created anger, division, resentment and despair across the UK, their policy of supporting America in their never-ending wars in the Middle East, their support of Donald Trump in his threat to wipe North Korea off the face of the earth, and the Tories’ support of big business over ordinary people.

These are just some of the reasons why thousands of people will be demonstrating at the Tory Party conference.

If Justin isn’t aware of these reasons then it just shows how out of touch he really is with many across the country.

MARTIN WEBB, Swindon Road, Old Town, Swindon