Councillors label police commissioner's crime plan for Wiltshire as 'almost hopeless' (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Councillors label police commissioner's crime plan for Wiltshire as 'almost hopeless'
Councillors have criticised the Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson’s, vision for the county and said it contains nothing about his priorities on tackling crime.
Mr Macpherson gave a presentation on his draft Police and Crime Plan for Wiltshire at a meeting of the Wiltshire Police and Crime Panel last Friday in Devizes.
The plan, which is out for public consultation until March 10, covers the next four years.
In it Mr Macpherson has set six priorities - reducing crime and anti social behaviour, protecting vulnerable people, putting victims first, reducing offending, improving the police’s customer service and response to calls for assistance.
Specific proposals include reducing crime and anti social behaviour by 10 per cent, setting up a £1 million innovation fund for organisations and groups to apply for money to reduce crime and increasing the number of Special Constables to 300 (currently there are 180) working at least 16 hours a month
Mr Macpherson, who was elected as Commissioner last November, also wants more people to volunteer in schemes such as Neighbourhood Watch and Community Speed Watch.
But members of the panel were critical of the Commissioner’s plan claiming it placed an over reliance on volunteer involvement.
Members also said the draft plan did not define anti social behaviour and therefore any measure of how it had improved or not would be meaningless.
Wiltshire councillor Richard Britton,chairman of the panel, said there was nothing in the plan that talked about tackling specific crimes.
Mr Macpherson, whose salary is £70,000, said operational policing was the responsibility of Chief Constable Patrick Geenty.
Wiltshire councillor Chris Caswill said: “I like a lot about your priorities - it’s very laudable bringing victim support to the fore and focusing on cutting re-offending. However, this a Police and Crime Plan which says almost nothing about policing and nothing about crime.
"Where are your priorities in relation to crime, for example deaths and injuries on the roads, rural crime, violent crime? You are completely silent on that in the plan. I regard this (plan) as almost hopeless.”
Wiltshire councillor Mike Hewitt agreed: “It’s very broad and very woolly. There’s nothing hard, fast and solid in it.”
The panel also expressed concern about the level of reserves that the Office of the Commissioner will have, which will be about £12 million at the end of this month (March).
The £1 million innovation fund is proposed to come out of the reserves but some councillors thought more money could be taken out of the reserves to pay for other priorities.