THE police and crime commissioner for Swindon and Wiltshire has said that Wiltshire Police was "probably the worst performing force in the country".

PCC Philip Wilkinson was speaking at the Salisbury Area Board meeting on Tuesday, November 28 and addressed councillors with updates about improvements made to Wiltshire Police. 

He said: "Three words describe my role - to scrutinise, challenge and to support. Two and a half years ago, when I took over, Wiltshire Police was probably the worst-performing police force in the country. 

"That is not a reflection on officers encountered on a daily basis, but it was badly organised, badly led and badly managed. It was death by committee."

Swindon Advertiser: PCC Philip WilkinsonPCC Philip Wilkinson (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Wilkinson had identified various priorities to be addressed which included 'improved communications with the public'  and improvements to the 101 response which had been 'a disaster.'

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Mr Wilkinson said: "In the last three months, a response to 101 calls have improved. The 101 response has gone on average down from 28 minutes to nine minutes. It will continue to improve."

Just 192 speed awareness courses had taken place in 2021. 

He said: "We have issued over 12,000 this year already. That is a huge improvement and has been done through improved co-ordination.

"We are the first force to take data so we can identify hot spots and persistent offenders and we deploy community speed enforcement officers"

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Mr Wilkinson confirmed there would be more officers on the streets as part of a new shift system due to come into force in the early part of January 2024 and greater emphasis on the neighbourhood policing team. 

The PCC admitted that Wiltshire had been the worst performing force in the country for violence against women or girls with a positive rape outcome of "less than two per cent". 

He said: "It is now 10 per cent which is a huge improvement but it is still not good enough."

Operation Scorpion saw all five police forces in the south west coming together to tackle drugs across county lines. 

He said: "When we talk about county lines, they are not just restricted to counties, they are national or international.  

"All five police forces in the south west are now in the top ten in terms of county lines disruptions and Wiltshire Police Force is the top performing force." 

Antisocial behaviour was another concern which he sees as a 'multi-faceted issue' with both social and economic causes. He confirmed the aim was to address the causes and to engage with the community.