22 January 2019
Gazette & Herald
MORE police officers could be walking the beat in Wiltshire if plans to increase the amount people pay for police are approved.
The Police Crime Commissioner says 41 new police officer roles will be created if people pay an extra £24 a year towards the force’s bill.
During the Police and Crime Panel held in Salisbury, plans were revealed to create 24 extra officer roles to replace the Tri Force scheme between Gloucester and Somerset and Avon which will end in April.
15 firearms officers have been proposed alongside and an extra nine traffic officers. One new dog trainer could be created if the £24 rise in precept is agreed.
However councillors raised concerns that the number of community officers was not great enough.
Cllr Jonathon Seed said: “Speaking to people, they don’t want more traffic officers, they don’t want more armed officers, they want more visibility and more in the community.
“I’m not seeing it here. I question why you want nine more roads officers and 15 armed officers. I understand cyber growth but I must express concern that the weight of support to community policing is not a reflection of the general alignment of officers.”
Chair Cllr Richard Britton added: “We know that firearms is coming back in house but 15 seems a huge number.”
It was explained that at least six officers are required to make sure that there is one firearms officer on duty 24/7 in the county.
Kieran Kilgallen, chief exec of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “There will be more officers with guns on our street but there will be two officers who will be driving around who will have their guns on them at any time in the whole of the county.”
Supt Int Conway Duncan said: “The current firearms model relied on goodwill and overtime to keep it running. We want to be able to run it fully and this is the number we need to keep it fully stocked and able to run.”
“Those 24 firearms and road policing officers will still be able to be a first response for a number of incidents.”
On average, armed officers respond to 1.7 call outs per week.