The newly-elected Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Swindon and Wiltshire has announced his plans to open a new police station in Salisbury.

PCC Philip Wilkinson said that the issue is "critical" and that he will make a decision in the next few weeks.

The Conservative commissioner has spent his first week in the position on patrol and listening to the concerns of residents.

He has also asked the county's Chief Constable to conduct an immediate review of operational police estate in Salisbury and the south of the county.

Speaking to the Journal during a visit to Bourne Hill on Thursday September 2, Mr Wilkinson said: "Policing in the city of Salisbury is distant from the residents, and having now spoken to the police they find that incredibly frustrating.

"We plan to open a new police station in the city. The current location in Bourne Hill does not make it easy to interact and that is something we need to rectify.

"There is the requirement to make a critical decision and I will make that decision within a few weeks."

He added that he doesn't know yet where the station will be located.

The review, which is expected to be completed in the near future, will look at how the police estate enables or impacts on policing in the area.

It will feed into the wider estates' strategy and also help to inform the PCC’s policing priorities in his Police and Crime Plan, will look at the existing police estate in that area alongside what frontline staff need to deliver effective policing. 

The PCC also said he would like to build a custody suite in the city, but this would be costly and require more officers.

Mr Wilkinson added: "We will have more police officers. We are already recruiting. We have now as many police officers on the books as we had before austerity.

"The problem is training, and training facilities for Wiltshire and Swindon are not good, which is something I plan to fix."

He believes the main challenge Wiltshire faces is county lines drugs dealing, the networks of which are now "reaching deeply" from London into smaller towns like Devizes: "We need to get inside county line networks and we need to do some significant damage to them.

"We need to stop the damage that the drug trade is doing to young people who are very vulnerable, and I want to fix that if I can."

The Conservative PCC was elected last month in the second Wiltshire PCC election this year, after previous Tory winner Jonathon Seed was disqualified over a 30-year-old drink driving conviction.

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