What is the Challenge?
Wiltshire’s Police Force is one of the worst-funded in the country. Drug crime, rural crime, online cyber-crime and pet theft have all increased while our police and communities have lacked the resources needed to prevent crime.
Swindon has become a magnet for “County Lines” drug dealers. Rural offences affecting farms, livestock and wildlife have worsened and pet thefts are at their worst ever levels. Cybercrime is the fastest growing form of offending. Cases of online ‘sextortion’ have tripled in the past year and romance fraud increased by 26% nationally this year.
In addition, domestic violence in Wiltshire has increased, with COVID-19 lockdowns trapping sufferers in abusive homes. There has also been a 30% rise in stalking and harassment, with perpetrators moving to online spaces. Wiltshire Police received the second-highest stalking or harassment reports of any force in the South West.
The UK Government has failed to provide Wiltshire Police and the community with the resources to prevent crime, protect victims, and engage with communities to prevent crime and develop early intervention methods.
What will we do?
In Wiltshire, as your Police and Crime Commissioner I would:
Engage with the Community
- Put community policing at the heart of crime prevention. This will help to prevent crime, ensure people feel safe and protect civil liberties;
- Introduce community safety forums by bringing local schools, youth organisations, town and parish councils, churches, residents, business and community groups together. This will enable communities to exchange intelligence on where the crime hot spots are and to develop action plans;
- Implement a Listening to You Campaign with the Police and Crime Commissioner visiting all areas in the county to hear from the public what their priorities are;
- Engage with diverse communities to encourage a diverse representation in the police force and other governing bodies;
- Review Wiltshire Police’s Equality Objectives and work with the Independent Advisory Group to reach out to under-represented communities.
Crack Cyber Crime
- Work with neighbouring forces to tackle cyber-crime, leading a regional collaboration.
- Introduce Cyber Champions in schools to promote and engage fellow students in e-literacy and to recognise signs of online grooming,
- Conduct an e-literacy programme for the elderly and vulnerable to protect them from fraud and other cyber-crimes including romance fraud, online sextortion and scams.
Real Action on Domestic Violence, Hate Crime and Stalking
- Focus intervention for young observers and victims of domestic violence to prevent imitations.
- Engage with charities and the police to protect victims and secure convictions.
- Run an awareness campaign to teach people about healthy relationships and to spot the signs of domestic abuse.
- Follow the lead of Avon and Somerset Police who have helped to fund Womankind to provide support and befriending services to victims who have mental health problems or additional learning needs.
- Create individual treatment plans for victims.
- Prevent bullying and its progression into hate crime with early intervention.
- Work with charities, victims and perpetrators to establish an intervention programme to prevent stalking, recognising research showing that 94% of murders of women are preceded by stalking.
- Spread awareness of stalking to ensure cases are reported and victims receive required help.
- Spread awareness of hate crime and work with schools and the police to ensure that all cases are reported and action is taken.
Tackle Drug Crime
- Raise awareness through a County Lines awareness campaign on social media, in schools and town centres, warning of the dangers and consequences of drug abuse.
- A collaborative approach to tackle County Lines drug dealing and child exploitation.
Prioritise Rural Crime and Protect our Pets from Pet Theft
- Institute a county-wide DNA database for livestock.
- Expand training in rural crime for new recruits.
- Work closely with the rural crime advisory group to protect our rural areas.
- Work with Wiltshire Police to ensure that pet theft is taken seriously.
- Enact a seven-point plan to deter pet theft, following the example of Gloucestershire.
- Campaign for a dog registration scheme and to recognise pet theft as a specific crime.
Support our Young, Elderly and Vulnerable Residents
- Work with schools on anti-drug sessions to inform and protect students from drug abuse.
- Support the Wiltshire Van Trust in their fight to protect the elderly and vulnerable from burglary.
- Join the campaign for self-defence lessons to be taught in schools including more education on healthy relationships and warning signs of coercive control.
Prevent Anti-Social Behaviour
- Work with community groups to provide opportunities for disadvantaged people to prevent anti-social behaviour.
- Lobby the Government to reverse the cuts to social and youth services.
Greater Enforcement of Traffic Offences
- Respond to a recent survey that revealed that people in Wiltshire want more road safety enforcement.
- Embrace new technology such as Autospeed Watch Cameras and community Speed Watch initiatives.