Police in Salisbury are "dissatisfied" and cannot "deliver the service they want to deliver" under current circumstances, according to Wiltshire's police and crime commissioner (PCC).

After Salisbury's police station on Wilton Road closed down in 2014, officers have been working in a shared space inside Wiltshire Council's offices on Bourne Hill.

In an exclusive interview, PCC Philip Wilkinson told the Salisbury Journal, upon reflection, he would now "question that decision" to close the station.

When asked why the police station shut down, Mr Wilkinson said: "At the time, it was decided based on political, economic and operational policing factors that it was no longer necessary or viable.

"It needed several million spent on it as a refurbishment, it wasn’t in a great location and the footfall did not justify the size of the station.

"The internal design of the station was such that it was not maximising the potential efficiency that could be made."

Closing the station 'was not the wisest thing'

Mr Wilkinson was appointed PCC in August 2021 so it was not his decision to close the old station on Wilton Road, however, he said: "At the time, that was probably the right decision, but I would question that decision now. I think it was probably not the wisest thing."

During a council meeting on Tuesday (19 July), Mr Wilkinson announced his intentions to bring "everybody under one roof" in a new purpose-built police station at High Post.

Read more: Wiltshire PCC 'in talks' about new High Post police station

Expressing his discontent with the current policing set-up, Mr Wilkinson said: "Bourne Hill doesn't work and it's disruptive. It’s open plan and the people from the floor above can look down and hear what we’re doing, it makes no sense.

"The police are equally dissatisfied in that they can not perform and deliver the service they want to deliver."

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Salisbury police are currently situated in a shared office on Bourne HillSalisbury police are currently situated in a shared office on Bourne Hill

One example Mr Wilkinson offered related to victim interview. "Police had to interview a victim of possible rape and there was nowhere to do that. We really have to do much more in terms of creating a sensitive environment when we interview victims of serious sexual assault or rape," he added.

Wiltshire Police have been allocated "more than £750,000" to fund a specialist team focusing on investigating and preventing violence against women and girls, according to Mr Wilkinson as he called the increase in this type of crime "incredibly worrying".

Some of the other problems with the current set-up on Bourne Hill include not having: enough parking, a car wash, a petrol point, a victim suite, CID, and the ability to expand or to control a major incident, says Mr Wilkinson.

Economical viability and efficiency are two things the PCC is looking to improve with a new station, he said: "At the moment there isn’t a space to have the connectivity between the various police functions to make them effective.

"If you’ve got all the functions under the boss [superintendent Liz Coles] in the station at the same time you become so much more cost-effective in terms of delivery."