WILTSHIRE Police is no longer in 'special measures' as significant improvements have been made to the service it provides.

His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has today, May 21, confirmed the force will be removed from the 'engage' phase of its performance monitoring process.

Wiltshire Police was deemed in need of special help, along with six other forces, following an inspection in June 2022.

Inspectors graded the force as ‘inadequate’ in its ability to respond to the public, protect vulnerable people and strategic planning.

It further described Wiltshire Police as ‘requiring improvement’ in a number of other areas.

Read more: ​Wiltshire Police special measures blamed on government cuts and 'impossible' demands

Two years on, following a change of leadership to chief constable Catherine Roper in February 2023, fundamental changes have been made to how the force operates.

This includes a new policing model creating dedicated neighbourhood teams to increase visibility and engagement, significant improvements to the quality of investigations and increased governance around performance monitoring and demand mapping.

A three-year strategic plan outlining Wiltshire Police's key priorities was also published.

This programme of work has resulted in an enhanced service to victims - from shorter 999 and 101 call answer times, safeguarding more people by identifying vulnerability at the earliest opportunity, better quality investigations and an improvement in the number of justice outcomes.

Although the decision to remove the Engage status from Wiltshire Police is a welcome one, chief constable Roper said that it will not deter the organisation from maintaining a focus on continuous improvement and the journey towards the force being rated as ‘outstanding’.

Salisbury Journal: Chief constable Catherine Roper.Chief constable Catherine Roper. (Image: Wiltshire Police)

She said: “Today’s news is testament to the steadfast commitment of everyone at Wiltshire Police to improve the service we provide to our communities.

“This is a significant development in our improvement journey, but it does not imply any complacency on our part - we fully recognise that much remains to improve further still.

“We know what we need to focus on and we have a detailed road map to ensure nothing distracts us from driving our improvements forward.

“However, this does represent a substantial moment in our onward journey towards our aspiration to be an outstanding police force."

Chief constable Roper thanked the community and all of her colleagues for their support and commitment, adding: "Thank you for the faith you installed in me as chief constable and the comprehensive improvement plan we established."

Now that Wiltshire Police has been removed from the 'engage' element of the process, the force will now enter into the ‘scan’ phase of the HMICFRS monitoring process which involves quarterly monitoring of performance to ensure improvements are sustained.