On Thursday the people of Witshire will go to the polls to elect their first Police and Crime Commissioner.
The PCCs, as they will be known, will be tasked with scrutinising their force and holding it to account. They will also be able to hire and fire the chief constable and set the force's budget. They are also charged with empowering local people to be able to have a say on how crime is tackled in their area.
Wiltshire police is the oldest force in the country. It is responsible for the county council area of Wiltshire and the Borough Council area of Swindon and serves a population of more than 600,000.
Last year there was a 3 per cent fall in crime in the county although drug offences increased by 14 per cent.
In it's current policing plan the force says its key prioirities were to reduce anti-social behaviour, tackle alcohol and drug misuse and reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on the county's roads.The force's budget this year is set at £116.7 million. But following the government's Spending Review the force has to make savings of £15 million. So far the force has saved nearly £5 million. With another £10 million due to be cut in the next four years.
Angus Macpherson - Conservative
Angus Macpherson is an accountant who has previously served as a borough councillor in Swindon and as a member of the police authority.
Mr Macpherson is also a trustee of several Wiltshire charities.
His election pledges are:
- help reduce crime, reoffending and improve efficiency.
- "make the criminal justice system better for victims, in a transparent and accountable way".
CLAIRE MOODY - LABOUR
Clare Moody is currently a Unite official and previously stood as a Labour candidate for Salisbury in the 2005 general election.
Ms Moody said she believed the commissioner should "work closely" and "not in opposition" with Wiltshire Police.
She has pledged to:
- spend as much money as possible on policing.
- "actively communicate with the communities of Wiltshire through regular meetings, community groups and the local media"
PAUL BATCHELOR - LIB DEMS.
Mr Batchelor is chair of the Warminster Police Neighbourhood Tasking Group, He has 17 years of local authority experience and 24 years experience of managing a business in his home town.
His key priorities are:
- tackling drug related crime by taking on the dealers.
- tackling anti-social behaviour by increasing Police presence in market towns and rural areas alongside prioritising victim support.
JOHN SHORT - UKIP
John Short, is the UKIP candidate and claims he has the experience and skills needed to deliver effective policing to the neighbourhood:
- 35 years experience in local government.
- Former Swindon Council Deputy Chief Executive.
- Managed a budget of £65m and a workforce 3,500 people.
- Former elected Swindon Borough Councillor.
Mr Short pledges to:
- Increase frontline warranted Police Officers by 150
- Double the number of Special Constables
- Fund community-based Police Officers in new Police Houses
- Facilitate a new Offender to Work SchemeGive local people a say on local policing priorities
COLIN SKELTON - INDEPENDENT
Special constable Colin Skelton spent 20 years in counter terrorism research as a civil servant and now works to help protect soldiers in Afghanistan. Mr Skelton says he is standing because he wants to make Wiltshire the safest place to live in the country with the lowest level of crime. He thinks this is achievable if Wiltshire police follow evidence based policies and recruit more Police Officers.
His four main commitments are:
- Target Top 100 offenders: Recruit 300 new Police officers: Bringing the total Police headcount in Wiltshire to 1300 by end of 2015.
- aggressively target the 100 most prolific offenders within Wiltshire. Setting up five Enhanced Integrated Offender Management (IOM) teams across Wiltshire, each targeting the 20 most prolific offenders in their area.
- Reduce crime by 20%: 300 new Police Officers coupled with the enhanced IOM programme will reduce crime. Enhance and better resource Neighbourhood Policing Teams and make better use of intelligence/technology to reduce crime. For example ensure that Police Analysts are trained to the highest standards and make use of the world’s best analytical and predictive crime software in order to reduce crime. The Los Angeles Police Force has used crime predictive software for reducing burglary and have shown a 27% fall.
- Look after Police Officers, PCSO’s and Police staff: None of this is possible without well motivated staff. Mr Skelton says he would would treat staff fairly, make their working lives better and give them a real voice in how the organisation is ran.
LAIM SILCOCKS - INDEPENDENT
Liam Silcocks, who is standing as an independent, currently works in IT/telecoms and has previously worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau.
- an anti police corruption campaigner who has said he would set up an independent panel, if elected, to review any historical complaints against the Wiltshire force.
- says he believes the PCC should be "a transparent interface" between the police and the public, and hold the police accountable on behalf of the public for policing and crime issues.
- also said he would suspend use of the LTi 20-20 speed gun by the force pending an investigation into its accuracy.