Dame Elizabeth Neville, former Chief Constable of Wiltshire, more than got the point at an ancient ceremony when she became the new High Sheriff of Wiltshire – her name was singled out by the Queen.

Using a silver bodkin, reputedly belonging originally to the first Queen Elizabeth, the Queen pricked out Dame Elizabeth’s name written on a parchment list of all the High Sheriffs for England and Wales in the historic ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Dame Elizabeth, pictured, became Chief Constable in 1997 and was only the second woman to lead an English police force. She created many partnerships with the county’s statutory and voluntary organisation in her seven years in office including the community safety partnerships, the Local Criminal Justice Board and the Domestic Violence Intervention Project.

Dame Elizabeth said: “It’s a terrific honour to be asked to be the High Sheriff of Wiltshire. I’m really delighted.”

During her year in office Dame Elizabeth will promote and raise money for the Wiltshire Bobby Van and Wiltshire Crimebeat.

The Bobby Van Trust was set up in 1998 and installs security equipment in the homes of elderly or vulnerable people who have been the victim of crime or are considered to be at risk of crime.

Dame Elizabeth is a trustee of the charity.

Crimebeat encourages young people to get involved with crime reduction activities and create safer communities.

Dame Elizabeth said she was pleased to be returning to the spotlight following her retirement from the police force.

She said: “The role of the High Sheriff in modern times is about helping, facilitating and generally making things better in a small way and I subscribe to that wholeheartedly. High Sheriffs have associations with law and order and having been a police officer all my career I am interested in focusing on preventing crime, dealing with victims and general law and order issues.”

Dame Elizabeth, who is married with two children and two step-children, was awarded the Queen's Police Medal in the 1996 New Year’s Honours list and became a Dame in 2003. She lives in Devizes. She retired in 2004.

She was nominated for the post of High Sheriff last November during a ceremony, that goes back to the Norman Conquests, at London’s High Court and on Wednesday her nomination was confirmed at the Privy Council in the royal palace when the Queen gave her royal seal of approval.

She will succeed Robert Floyd, of Great Chalfield Manor, near Melksham, as High Sheriff.

Today the role is mostly ceremonial but the post of High Sheriff remains the oldest secular office in the land.