THE number of people that feel Wiltshire Police can be relied upon when needed has dropped significantly.

In a public opinion survey commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner, 65 per cent of people said they felt Wiltshire Police could be relied on to be there when needed, compared to just under 70 per cent two years ago.

Speaking at a police and crime panel meeting earlier this month, commissioner Angus Macpherson said: “It is significantly lower than two years ago and we have to understand why.

“Unfortunately no data is available. But it could be because public perception is influenced by the delay in the crime communications centre [for 101 calls] and the force taking longer in getting to priority calls.

“Or possibly it is linked to national media coverage regarding the police service and the financial savings required and the reduction in the number of officers. It is being actively looked into.”

He added: “Public confidence in policing remains high at 81 per cent.”

Members of the panel heard it took on average 10 minutes and 43 seconds to attend an emergency in the last quarter which was a slight improvement.

Mr Macpherson said: “In the last quarter, the average response time for priority calls which peaked at one hour and seven minutes in September has reduced to 54 minutes and 45 seconds to attend a priority incident.

“This improvement is linked to the introduction of the Community Policing Team model where improvements have been seen across the county.”