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Soldiers suffer "life changing injuries" in Salisbury crash

The scene of the crash on Salisbury Plain. Credit: Wiltshire Air Ambulance

An army officer and a sergeant have suffered "life changing injuries" to their legs after a truck crash on Salisbury Plain yesterday evening.

As front passengers of the rear truck in the three-vehicle pile-up, they were hurt when their four-tonne truck crashed into the back of another. They were airlifted to Southampton General Hospital.

A further 9 soldiers were taken to Salisbury District Hospital, 6 of whom remain there. Those hospitalised include the driver of the third vehicle, another officer, who suffered leg bruising and head injuries. Police believe around 20 soldiers in total were injured.

Officers carried out a detailed examination of the scene overnight. The investigation continues, although police do not believe mechanical failure played a part in the crash, and are now looking at potential human and environmental causes.

The crash happened at around 6.30pm on Wednesday in a field near to Westdown Camp, in Wiltshire. Both British and Indian soldiers are believed to have been involved.

Praise for Salisbury Plain crash emergency responders

South Western Ambulance Service have paid tribute to the emergency crews who were on the scene for last night's crash on Salisbury Plain, in which around 20 soldiers were injured.

Police, fire crews, paramedics, air ambulance teams, emergency response doctors and military personnel had to work together to help the soldiers - several of whom suffered life-changing injuries.

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Job opportunity: Wiltshire Chief Constable

Wiltshire Chief Constable Patrick Geenty with county Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson Credit: Emma Hallet/PA Wire

Wiltshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson is advertising for a replacement for his retiring Chief Constable. Patrick Geenty plans to retire at the end of May.

The successful candidate will have to wait until the outcome of an investigation into Mr Geenty's handling of sexual abuse complaints.

Chief Constable will remain in job during IPCC investigation

Chief Constable Patrick Geenty will remain in his job while under investigation by the IPCC

Chief Constable Patrick Geenty will remain in his job while he is under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Wiltshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson has released the following statement:

My role as Commissioner is to represent the people of Wiltshire and Swindon in police and crime matters.

After giving careful consideration to information I have received from the IPCC, together with independent legal advice which my office commissioned, I have decided that the public interest would be best served by Mr Geenty continuing in his role whilst the IPCC investigation is underway. I am required to consult the IPCC on this decision and I have done so.

The purpose of an investigation is to establish the facts behind a complaint and that is what I am waiting for.

Nothing has been placed before me at this stage which, in my judgment, would justify suspension. If new evidence is produced by the enquiry team, I will review my decision.

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

Wiltshire Police Chief "shocked by probe"

Cheif Constable Patrick Geenty denies the claims Credit: ITV News

Wiltshire's chief constable has expressed shock at being investigated by the police watchdog over the way his force handled allegations of sexual abuse.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating Wiltshire Police chief constable Patrick Geenty, as well as two junior officers, in relation to the way the force dealt with complaints about a sexual abuse investigation in 2008 and 2009.

It is alleged Mr Geenty, the then-assistant chief constable, and the two other officers, withheld information from the original complainants about the extent of the force's failings in dealing with the sexual abuse claims.

"I am shocked by the allegation that I attempted to mislead a complainant.

"I welcome an open and transparent investigation and the public deserve no less.

"The IPCC is there to investigate complaints independently and hold Chief Constables to account.

"I expect my actions to be reviewed and scrutinised.

"I am committed to serving the people of Wiltshire and protecting children and vulnerable people.

"It is vital that we listen to complaints and learn from them."

– Patrick Geenty, Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police

Wiltshire Chief Constable under investigation by IPCC

Patrick Geenty Credit: Emma Hallet/PA

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police over his handling of sexual abuse allegations.

The IPCC is investigating Patrick Geenty, as well as an inspector and a detective constable from the force, in relation to the way they dealt with complaints lodged five years ago. Those complaints had been about the way the force handled allegations of sexual abuse.

It is alleged that in 2009 the then Assistant Chief Constable, Patrick Geenty, withheld information and misled the complainants.

It is vital that the public are confident that police forces will take their complaints seriously and act with honesty and integrity. Our investigation will seek to establish whether information was knowingly withheld and whether these complainants were knowingly and dishonestly misled.

– IPCC Deputy Chair Sarah Green

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Chief constable defends use of tasers

The chief constable of Wiltshire Police today defended the use of tasers after the Police and Crime Commissioner admitted the public will have fresh concerns over their use.

It comes after ITV News West Country was leaked footage of the moment a police officer fired a fifty thousand volt stun gun at a naked suspect in a custody cell in Melksham. The Chief Constable tried to stop any of the film from being shown. Richard Payne reports:

PCC's response to Taser trial

I do not intend to comment on the outcome of this trial. Furthermore, the issue of when it is right to deploy a Taser is an operational matter for the Chief Constable.

However, there is a public interest in the recent increase in the use of Taser and in whether national guidance and policies on Taser are being set out clearly to officers in training.

I think the public may also have questions about whether it is appropriate to use Taser in the confined space of a custody cell.

In my view it is the responsibility of PCCs, working with the College of Policing, to ensure that operational guidance is sufficiently robust and that adequate safeguards for the public are built in.

I also hope that the Independent Police Complaints Commission will consult with PCCs as and when they review Taser use.

I intend to discuss the implications of this case with the Chief Constable to determine what lessons have been learned.

– The Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson, said:
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