Chippenhams new police commander has promised he and his staff will be on the beat as much as possible.

Inspector Phil Staynings, 39, took over as the commander of Chippenham, Calne and Corsh-am Neighbourhood Policing Teams earlier this month.

He has succeeded Inspector Martin Schorah, who has taken up a post at the emergency control room in Devizes.

The Chippenham sector is a low crime area and Insp Staynings said his challenge was to maintain and improve on the figures.

He said: “I am very lucky to have inherited such a low crime area.

“Overall crime is down nine per cent compared to last year.

“Anti-social behaviour is down significantly – 26 per cent.

“Serious violent crime is down 53 per cent, while robbery is down 66 per cent.”

This is his first role in charge of a Neighbourhood Policing Team. His previous post was setting up a team to manage priority and prolific offenders across Wiltshire.

He has been a police officer for almost 18 years.

He started as a bobby in Pinehurst and Penhill, in Swindon, followed by a posting in Highworth and then was a roads, policing and response officer in Swindon.

He is married with two children and lives near Cricklade.

He said: “I’m very hands on. My ethos is to be visible to my staff, plodding the beat in Chippenham, Calne and Corsham and I have been out on the beat already.

“I will take a lot of my previous knowledge and background into my current role.

“I will be expecting my staff to be visible and provide reassurance to the public.”

He said in the run-up to Christmas there would be extra patrols to prevent shoplifting and other crimes and anti-social behaviour.

He said a big police presence in the town on Friday night for the Christmas lights switch-on had been a great success and there were no arrests.

He said he wanted the public to tell him and his officers of any concerns.

He is based at Monkton Park council offices.

His sergeants are Phil Connor, who was previously at Calne and is now in Chippenham, Simon Wright, who is at Calne and Nick Cook, who is in Corsham.