Last week I, along with the rest of the country and indeed the world, was saddened to hear the news of the death of HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Those within the police service often talk about public duty, serving our communities and putting others before ourselves.

In the days since his death we have heard countless tales and personal memories of the Duke, highlighting his passions and interests, his sense of humour and his ability to put others at ease.

But perhaps, his most defining feature appears to have been his sense of public duty.

For almost his entire adult life he was dedicated to serving this country.

Firstly through the Armed Forces, including serving with distinction in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.

And secondly, as the longest-serving consort in British history, supporting his wife The Queen throughout her reign.

That tremendous commitment and dedication to public service should be applauded and commended.

He was a global ambassador and inspired many lives and generations – not least the estimated 1.3 million young people that have taken part in his Duke of Edinburgh’s award worldwide, including my own children who cherished the experience gained.

On behalf of everyone at Wiltshire Police, I also want to extend my heartfelt condolences to HM The Queen, and the Royal Family, who are dealing with a very great personal loss.

As a mark of respect Wiltshire Police has ensured that the Union Flag is flying at half-mast from our locations around Swindon and Wiltshire, and this will continue to be the case until after the funeral.

At 3pm this afternoon, our police officers and staff will also mark the national minute’s silence to pay tribute to the Duke.

I know that during normal times, members of the public may want to gather to pay their respects, but due to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions we are instead encouraging people to consider signing an online condolence book.

These have been opened by both local authorities which residents across the county can add their messages of support, reflection and respect to.

For Wiltshire residents this can be accessed via the Wiltshire Council website and for Swindon residents this can be accessed via the Swindon Borough Council website.

You can also leave a message of condolence at where a selection of messages will be passed onto members of the Royal Family, and may be held in the Royal Archives for posterity.