THERE’S a policeman in the library and he’s not there to read the books!

Neighbourhood police officers and police community support officers have started using their local libraries as ‘touchdown’ points.

They can now be seen working in public libraries in Malmesbury, Westbury, Downton and Wilton.

Sgt Kevin Harmsworth, neighbourhood sergeant for the Warminster, Westbury, Mere and Tisbury area, says the move will enable them to better engage with their local communities.

“At the end of the day, work is a thing we do, not a place where we go.

“Having the touchdown points puts us in touch with our local communities.

“It’s all about visibility, engagement and problem-solving.”

Wiltshire & Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said: “We are dedicated on making policing more visible and accessible in our communities and these new touchdown points with help deliver that aim.

“The libraries are a hub for local people of all ages and from all walks of life, with a variety of activities and events on offer. It’s important for our officers to be available in locations such as these.

“Using shared locations makes better use of public money and allows me to continue to invest in technology so officers can work from anywhere.”

As part of his cost-cutting plans, Mr Macpherson has closed police stations in Malmesbury, Wilton, Alderbury and Westbury.

Local Community Policing Teams for will continue to be briefed and work out of police stations at Bourne Hill in Salisbury and Warminster.

Malmesbury police station will stay open until the Royal Wootton Bassett police station refurbishments have been completed and then staff will return to being based from there.

Inspector Gill Hughes, from the Warminster Area Community Policing Team, said: “In addition to our existing shared locations with partners, these new library touchdown points will mean officers and PSCOs can work in buildings in the heart of the communities we serve.

“They allow officers and PSCOs to take a break whilst on patrol using the kitchen and toilet facilities.”

“They also offer a quiet space to work, have a discussion or deal with something confidential in a private space if required.”

Royal Wootton Bassett Area CPT Inspector Doug Downing added: “Under our Community Policing model, officers and staff no longer need to return to a police station to do paperwork.

“They can now do that and more, whilst out and about using mobile technology, yet still be able to respond quickly to an emergency if required.

“If you see our officers at the new touchdown points, you are welcome to approach them to discuss local issues or ask any questions, we’re there to serve and help protect our community.”