CANDIDATES for the Swindon and Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner job have responded to an open attack from Wiltshire Police Federation.

Earlier this week, Mark Andrews, chairman of the organisation, said he was "astonished" that none of the PCC candidates had been in touch to discuss police concerns.

“Most people who go for an interview at least get to know the company they want to work for and frankly, not doing so demonstrates what could be deemed as disregard for the role or over confidence,” he said.

“As PCC you will no doubt make promises to the electorate, at the very least you should have an understanding about the plausibility of these promises by knowing what you have to work with and how long change takes.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Mark Andrews, chairman of the Wiltshire Police FederationMark Andrews, chairman of the Wiltshire Police Federation

Independent candidate and former detective, Mike Rees fired back, saying he was “astonished” by Mr Andrews’ “crass comment”.

“I’ve got a good handle on what’s going on,” he said. “My idea of good leadership and understanding of what’s going on in an organisation is to speak to people on the front line.

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“They’ll tell you what’s going on.

“I’m regularly in touch with frontline officers and staff on a weekly basis. Sometimes daily.”

The newly chosen Conservative PCC hopeful, Philip Wilkinson, said he is meeting with Mark Andrews on Monday (July 5).

Labour candidate, Junab Ali said he will be getting in touch with the federation, he said:”I would definitely like to hear his and the police federations of Wiltshire’s issues of concerns.”

The new Liberal Democrat candidate, Brian Mathew said he has been in touch with the Wiltshire Police Federation to talk with Mr Andrews about the concerns facing the force in the county.

The federation has put out a mini-manifesto of policing priorities for whoever is elected after votes are cast on August 19.

These issues include investing in the wellbeing and welfare of officers and staff, the police HQs, lobbying the government for more cash and looking into the time taken to deal with allegations of misconduct by police officers and complaints from the public.