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Warminster Town Council: Delivering a brighter, greener future for all

A series of articles by Inspector Kevin Harmsworth

11 September 2023

Inspector Kevin Harmsworth, joined Wiltshire Police in 2003, and has since worked front line operational policing in Swindon, Melksham, Trowbridge, Armed Response, Roads Policing, and more recently from 2019, Neighbourhood Policing across the Warminster, Westbury, Tisbury and Mere community areas.

Kevin has lived in Wiltshire for 37 years and in his first article in the series he reveals the challenges our local police service faces across the county. He is responsible for service delivery of all the blue light response and neighbourhood policing officers for community areas based at Warminster police station.

He said: “The title Inspector handily includes the key function of my role in local policing (inspect) whereby I critically analyse my team’s performance across a wide range of performance indicators such as victim satisfaction, the victim codes of practice and investigation quality, set against the overarching principles of our organisational standards of behaviour and values.

“Since coming into post I have implemented many new performance measures, working closely with Operation Evolve – our internal team driving the response to lead us out of His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary ‘Engage’, which you have heard referred to as ‘special measures’.”

‘Room for improvement’

Kevin adds: “I am pleased to report performance has steadily improved since January and continues to do so, but I recognise that we still have room for improvement. Recent weeks have seen HMICFRS (His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services) meet with our chief officer group to discuss the improvement journey of Wiltshire Police. HMICFRS are very clear that it will only be when they are able to see long term and sustainable change that we will be able to begin a conversation around the exit from the Engage process.

“All our improvements must deliver a consistent and reliable police service to our communities. It is encouraging HMICFRS are seeing early positive signs that Wiltshire Police is moving in the right direction in terms of the improvements we need to make.

“Local policing is supported by many volunteers who carry out essential work in keeping our communities safe. Some of those volunteers are the Horse Rider Volunteer Scheme – 55 volunteers on horseback who act as eyes and ears for local policing, and provide intelligence for us to act upon.

“There’s also the Rural Crime Partnership (RCP) which is comprised of Neighbourhood Watch volunteers and partner agencies (such as the Canal and River Trust, local authorities and the Ministry of Defence). This meets on a quarterly basis to share updates, discuss crime prevention activity and carry out proactive prevention activities, such as signing up community members to our watch schemes.

“The Police Cadets support local policing at various community events where they promote the various watch schemes in the county, issue leaflets and stickers to support crime prevention, and help sign members up to our Community Messaging service:

“Community Speedwatch schemes continue to drive down speed and drive up safety, combatting speeding in many local communities. Our Special Constabulary have been providing tremendous support to our summer Road Safety Campaign, which is a current focus for us in response to a worrying rise in people killed or seriously injured on our county’s roads. Thank you to all our volunteers.”

‘Project Zero’

“Our Road Safety Team continue to target excess speed hotspots through their civilian enforcement officers. The Roads Policing Team continue ‘Project Zero’ across the county, making our local community areas the focus of enforcement activity on the main causes of serious injury/fatal road traffic collisions, supported by our Community Policing Team between their responding to daily calls for service.

“Operational focus on road safety remains and we are working hard to keep our communities safe. I would prefer that people were driving safely on our roads, and our efforts were not needed. I ask all our communities to make sure they are driving safely and thinking of other road users at all times. One life lost or one person injured is one too many.”

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Last modified: 11 September 2023

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