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Update - vandals damaged at least 70 cars

Wiltshire Police can now confirm that it has received more than 70 reports of criminal damage to vehicles in Swindon early this morning. Many of the cars had their tyres slashed in a vandalism spree between 3am and 5am. Earlier reports suggested the number of cars damaged was closer to 150.

Supt Gavin Williams said: "This sort of crime absolutely beggars belief. The victims of these crimes are hard-working families who have lawfully parked their vehicles outside of their homes. This is a particularly pointless, idiotic crime and I am keen to bring those responsible to justice."

Vandals slash tyres of 150 cars

Vandals slashed the tyres of about 150 cars in Swindon overnight. Most of the damage was done to cars in five town centre streets between 2am and 5am today. A large number of police officers are now in the area speaking to victims and witnesses.

Wiltshire Police Inspector Joe Saunders said: "These offender(s) have been brazen in the sheer number of vehicles they have damaged early this morning. I would like to reassure the local community that Wiltshire Police is taking this incident very seriously."

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Black ice in Wiltshire

Wiltshire Police have issued safety warnings to drivers after 27 accidents this morning involving black ice. The incidents have mostly involved single vehicles. It is believed that the deceptive black ice on the roads havs been caused by rain washing away the grit from snow left on the ground.

The main area affected has been around Swindon and Chippenham.

" We have had a unprecedented number of road traffic accidents this morning. Thankfully, although there have been some injuries, these have not been serious but it is only a matter of time if motorists do not take care on the roads. After the heavy rain most of the grit that was placed on the roads during the snow has been washed away by the rain, this has then frozen and left black ice all over the roads. This can make roads extremely dangerous and I am urging motorists to take care or even reconsider travelling this morning."

– Superintendent Nick Ashley, Wiltshire Police

Hampshire drink drive figures down 15%

Hampshire Police have released their drink drive figures for the festive season over Christmas and the New Year. The number of arrests have dropped by 15% compared to last year.

A total of 5,811 drivers were breath tested – 4% more than over Christmas 2011.

Two hundred and five people had positive reading and were arrested. Of this number 12% were at least three times over the drink-drive limit.

Officers have charged 140 people (68%) with drink-drive offences, bailed 51 (25%) pending further enquiries, and released 14 people (7%) with no further action.

It is important to point out that while we carry out drink-drive operations throughout the year, we see a spike in this type of offending in the weeks leading up to and just after Christmas.

“After seeing a nine per cent rise in drink-drive arrests in 2011, it was clear that we needed to invest more time and resources into our Christmas campaign in 2012.

As part of this we carried out operations every Friday and Saturday night and Sunday and Monday morning as well as our usual roadside checks and joined forces with our colleagues in the local Safer Neighbourhoods teams spreading drink-drive messages with the help of bumper stickers, beer mats in local pubs and by touring with a crashed car which just one year previously had been involved in a drink-drive fatality.

I like to think that this has paid dividends, not only because of the number of arrests made but hopefully in that the volume of officers out on Hampshire’s and the Isle of Wight’s roads would, for some, been good enough reason not to chance it.”

– Chief Inspector Andy Bottomley, Roads Policing, Hampshire Constabulary & Thames Valley Police

Wiltshire Police reveal Christmas drink drive figures

Wiltshire Police have released the results of their Christmas Drink Drive campaign. Officers arrested eighty-five drivers for positive breath tests, refusing or failing to provide a test.

Another thirteen drivers were arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs while driving.

The annual anti-drink driving campaign ran from 1st December to 1st January 2013. Wiltshire Police administered 2,579 breath tests in total.

“As a direct result of this crackdown, 85 drivers are now off our roads for being giving a positive breath test, refusing or failing to provide a breath test and 13 were arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs.

“The number of collisions reported to Wiltshire Police between December 1st 2012 and January 1st 2013 has fallen by 277 compared to the same period last year which reduced the number of breath tests administered following collisions by 65 and the total number of those that were positive, refused or failed to provide fell by 6.

“'The aim of this year’s campaign was firstly to highlight the dangers of drug and drink driving supported by a planned pro-active increase in the number of road checks and vehicles stopped.

“What I would like to make perfectly clear is that we have officers patrolling our roads throughout the year – not just over the Christmas period. Drivers should not get complacent as we have team targeting those drivers who put themselves and others at risk by getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

– Inspector Steve Cox, Head of Roads Policing, Wiltshire Police

'Not just rubber stamping' Macpherson speaks on new Chief Constable

They were told they'd be able to hire and fire Chief Constables and that's exactly what Wiltshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has done.

Angus Macpherson has appointment Patrick Geenty in the role of Chief Constable. It's a five year contract with an estimated annual salary of £133,000 pounds.

Mr Macpherson, himself, was announced as the first commissioner in England and Wales, back in November. He was the Conservative candidate in that election. Earlier, he spoke to Sangeeta.

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New chief constable - first picture

The first chief constable to be appointed by a newly-elected police and crime commissioner (PCC), Patrick Geenty Credit: Emma Hallet/PA Wire

The first chief constable to be appointed by a newly-elected police and crime commissioner (PCC) was revealed today.

The appointment of Patrick Geenty, who will head the operational side of Wiltshire Police, was announced by PCC Angus Macpherson.

Mr Macpherson, who ran as a Conservative candidate in November's election, is exercising the power which comes with the newly-elected role.

Mr Geenty was already the acting chief constable and considered the front runner for the position, but his role has now been confirmed.

Three candidates were interviewed for the fixed-term five-year post, which has an initial salary of £133,000.

Response to new Chief Constable announcement

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson has appointed Mr Patrick Geenty as the permanent Wiltshire Police Chief Constable.

He is the first PCC to exercise his power to appoint a Chief Constable since the elections for the UK's first Police & Crime Commissioners took place last November.

“I am delighted to be appointing Patrick Geenty as the substantive Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police. As it is such an important role, it was a priority for me to recruit for this post as soon as possible after taking office.

“Mr Geenty has been the temporary Chief Constable since March last year. During that time, and throughout the recruitment process, he has shown a real commitment to leading the Force effectively, working to ensure Wiltshire continues to be one of the safest counties in the country.

“I look forward to continuing to work with him. He is an outstanding leader and I am very pleased that we will be working together to deliver my forthcoming Police and Crime Plan.”

– Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire & Swindon

Mr Geenty has thirty years of experience in the police service.

“I am very proud to be appointed as the substantive Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police. I will continue to lead the Force, working alongside Mr Macpherson and other colleagues, to continue to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the county and deliver his Police and Crime Plan, due to be published by the end of March.

“We are working within a challenging financial climate, however I am confident we will continue to provide an effective and efficient police service for the people of Wiltshire.”

– Patrick Geenty, the new Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police

Crime Commissioner first to exercise recruiting power

Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire Police & Crime Commissioner
Angus Macpherson at Wiltshire's Police & Crime Commissioner election, November 2012

Wiltshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson, is to become the first to exercise the power to appoint a Chief Constable. He has also put forward capping the police aspect of council tax.

The role of Police and Crime Commissioner was introduced to the UK last year - with elections held across the country in November 2012.

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