Police remain committed to upholding public safety

Salisbury Journal: Wiltshire councillor in charge of internal transformation, Stuart Wheeler with superintendent Charlie Armstrong and Inspector Dave Minty at Bourne Hill Police Station Wiltshire councillor in charge of internal transformation, Stuart Wheeler with superintendent Charlie Armstrong and Inspector Dave Minty at Bourne Hill Police Station

I AM writing to reassure readers who saw the story headlined “Concern ahead of police station move” (Journal, June 26).

It was claimed there are “major concerns about the security of civilian staff” working at Bourne Hill Police Station. By implication the article could be seen to suggest that inquiry office staff were safe and sound in Wilton Road, but that they will be at risk in Bourne Hill.

It stated that “at times, especially in the evenings, there will be a lone person on duty on a front desk”. Unfortunately it left out a key fact, which was that our Local Crime Team and CID will be at Bourne Hill well into the evening.

What’s more, our Neighbourhood Policing Teams will be in and out of Bourne Hill until late evening. Response teams (who work 24/7) will be patrolling the city and surrounding villages just as they did when based at Wilton Road. We can pinpoint within metres where our police officers are and send them quickly to assist the public or colleagues as required. This again is no different to when officers were based at Wilton Road.

The overall level of risk at Bourne Hill is, in fact, lower than at Wilton Road. Many of our more challenging “customers” at Wilton Road were related to custody matters. From now on, custody will be at Melksham until the new custody unit is built in Salisbury.

Cllr Ricky Rogers is quoted within the article as saying: “Staff believe the council do not have a clear understanding of some of the issues dealt with in a police inquiry office”.

In fact, a thorough risk assessment for the Bourne Hill inquiry office was carried out jointly by Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire Police, so our council partners have a clear insight into those issues.

Regarding the reference to a perceived lack of clarity about which police services will be based at Bourne Hill and which will be at the new Five Rivers campus, Insp Andy Noble has discussed the proposals on several occasions at Salisbury Area Board.

Furthermore, the changes were also set out at a public meeting in Salisbury on May 19 at which the Chief Constable, the Police and Crime Commissioner and a senior officer from Wiltshire Council were on hand to answer questions. I hope this letter goes some way towards reassuring the people of Salisbury that we remain committed to providing an excellent level of policing service to the city and its surrounding areas.

Supt Charlie Armstrong

South Wiltshire Hub, Wiltshire Police

I AM writing in response to the article in the Journal by Annie Riddle talking about the police station. In the article, Ricky Rogers, chairman of the Salisbury Area Board, was raising ‘serious concerns’ about the imminent movement of the police into Bourne Hill and also into the new Five Rivers campus as it is built. It is a shame that Cllr Rogers has chosen to play politics with the issue and raise concerns at the last minute, when it is too late for anyone to address them. Concerns should have been raised several months ago when the alterations to policing arrangements were announced.

I was even more concerned to see the comments Cllr Rogers made about the police and the new Five Rivers Community Campus. He suggests that there is still some confusion about which elements of the police will be moving into the campus.

This is not the case.

It was decided well over a year ago that the police would be moving community policing and response to the campus.

The Shadow Campus Operations Board has made it clear that other parts of the police operation would not fit with the campus and as such would not be based there.

This has been reported to the Salisbury Area Board on several occasions and there has been no confusion whatsoever about the plans.

One of the benefits of basing community policing in a community campus is that the police will be closer to and more accessible to the public.

The campus will provide a great deal more than a ‘signpost and phone’. As far as using civilian volunteers to run the campus, I have no idea where that has come from.

The Campus Operations Board (COB) comprises volunteers but Five Rivers will continue to be run by professional staff when it becomes the Five Rivers Community Campus. The COB provides direction based on community input, it does not run services or buildings.

With regard to the move of police to Bourne Hill, Cllr Rogers should have looked at the way that a similar system has worked at the Monkton Park offices in Chippenham where the police have been co-located with the council for well over a year.

There were some initial teething problems there but the system now works well and provides a blueprint for making a similar operation work in Salisbury.

The changes to policing in Salisbury are significant and this is bound to raise concerns.

They are not helped by politicians using the issue to play politics and raise problems that do not exist.

Richard Clewer

Wiltshire councillor,

St Paul's Ward,

Salisbury

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