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Wiltshire 2016

Read more about Wiltshire

This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Wiltshire Police. PEEL is designed to give the public information about how their local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year. The assessment is updated throughout the year with our inspection findings and reports.

The extent to which the force is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

The extent to which the force is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Contact Wendy Williams

HMI's observations

I am very pleased with all aspects of the performance of Wiltshire Police. The force provides a consistently good service.

The force continues to have an effective approach to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, investigating crime, and tackling serious and organised crime.

The force also continues to prioritise the protection of vulnerable people. This is evident in the investments it has made in child sexual exploitation teams and multi-agency safeguarding hubs, together with better training for specialist investigators.

I am pleased that the force’s response to missing and absent children has greatly improved since our 2015 inspection: officers and staff of all ranks and grades now have a better understanding of the risks associated with persistently missing children. The force has also improved the way it records its assessments of risk and the supervision of its investigations.

I am satisfied that the force has demonstrated a sound understanding of the current demands for its services and is able to match its resources to these demands. It is working to understand its future demand better. The force has assessed the capabilities of its workforce and is working to close the knowledge and skills gaps it has identified. Its approach to recruitment is an example of this: the force is actively recruiting people with the skills to work on the new demands that are likely to arise from societal and technical changes, such as internet crime. The force has removed some middle and senior police ranks, and is addressing skills gaps resulting from the new structure through a dedicated programme to nurture and develop talent.

The force has a strong track record of achieving cost savings and has invested effectively in technology. The widespread of introduction of mobile devices has enabled officers and staff to work away from police stations and spend more time with the public.

I am very impressed with the fair and respectful treatment of the workforce in Wiltshire Police and the standards of behaviour expected of those in leadership roles throughout the organisation, which are clearly understood by those at all ranks and grades. The force regularly uses a variety of approaches to seek the views of staff and officers, including internal surveys, face-to-face meetings, and the chief officer’s web chats. This feedback informs workforce development programmes, which are co-ordinated with the force’s recruitment and promotion procedures – all of which place a strong emphasis on improving the quality and capacity of leadership.

I would now like to see the force extend this innovation to how it seeks and uses feedback from the people of Wiltshire, and in particular those who may have less trust and confidence in the police.

In summary, I commend the force on the service it is providing to the people of Wiltshire, and I look forward to its continued progress over the coming year.


Wiltshire Police provides policing services to the county of Wiltshire. There are areas of both deprivation and affluence in Wiltshire. The force area is home to around 0.7 million people, who live in a predominantly rural setting. Its numerous small urban areas include the city of Salisbury and the town of Swindon. The resident population is increased by the large numbers who visit or travel through the area each year. The transport infrastructure includes 118 miles of motorway and trunk roads.

The proportion of areas in Wiltshire that are predicted (on the basis of detailed economic and demographic analysis) to present a very high challenge to the police is very low compared to the national average. The most challenging areas are generally characterised by a high concentration of people living, working, socialising, or travelling in the area.

Features that both cause and/or indicate a concentration of people include the number of commercial premises, including licensed premises and fast-food premises, public transport, and social deprivation. In some areas, these features are combined.

Working arrangements

Wiltshire Police collaborates with Avon and Somerset Constabulary and Gloucestershire Constabulary on services including road network patrols, armed policing and dog support. The three forces have obtained a Police Innovation Fund grant from the Home Office to introduce a single information and communications technology infrastructure.

The force has embarked on a pilot programme of co-location with Wiltshire and Swindon councils, and it now has policing teams and front counters in town centre premises.

Looking ahead to 2017

In the year ahead, I will be interested to see how the force responds to this assessment and to the areas for improvement that HMIC identified last year.

I will be particularly interested to see how the force develops its communication with the people of Wiltshire, especially those who may have less confidence in the police.


How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 02/03/2017

Wiltshire Police is good in respect of its effectiveness at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Our overall judgment is the same as last year, when we judged the force to be good. The force is good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour. It protects vulnerable people from harm, and has effective processes in place to investigate crimes. It is good at tackling serious and organised crime and has the necessary arrangements in place to respond to national threats.

Wiltshire Police is good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour. It understands the communities it serves and the threats they face. Problem solving is undertaken with other organisations as appropriate.

Wiltshire Police investigates crime and manages offenders well. It has good processes for the assessment of reported incidents and for assessing vulnerability. It has a good understanding of the nature and scale of vulnerability and it works well with other organisations in multi-agency safeguarding arrangements. Victims of domestic abuse assessed as being at high risk receive full support from specialist detectives. Measures to monitor sexual and violent offenders are effective. Longer-term support for high-risk victims of domestic abuse is provided through effective joint agency arrangements. In addition, the force has programmes in place to reduce re-offending and provide effective victim care and support.

Wiltshire Police has a good understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime. Organised crime groups are generally mapped in accordance with national guidelines. The force works with partner agencies to build a complete picture, and prioritises activity aimed at tackling serious and organised crime systematically and objectively. It has effective links to regional and national assets, understands clearly how people may be drawn into serious and organised crime, and has measures in place to prevent this happening. The force has scope to improve its lifetime offender management and to develop an approach to organised crime group management, which encompasses prevention, protection and preparation, as well as more traditional ‘pursuit’ activity. The force continues to make progress in communicating more effectively with the public about organised crime.

Wiltshire Police has the necessary arrangements in place to assess all the threats identified in the Strategic Policing Requirement (PDF document). The force is good at assessing the threat of an attack requiring an armed response.

View the five questions for effectiveness


How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 03/11/2016

Wiltshire Police has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. This is in line with last year’s inspection where the force was also graded as good. It has a track record of effective budget planning and good financial planning. Effective processes are in place to manage demand for its services and the force is using various methods to assess future demand. It has a good understanding of current workforce capabilities and uses some innovative software to inform decisions about workforce structures and staff deployment. Wiltshire Police has well-established partnership arrangements and is working well with those partners to assess demand and service delivery for the future.

The force has a sound understanding of the range of demand for its services. It is speaking to officers and focus groups in high-risk areas to learn where there may be hidden demand and how best to deal with it. It has created a sustainable understanding of demand group, with six work streams to assess demand in a common and consistent way. The work streams gather quantitative data on volumes, trends and forecasts, in consultation with staff.

A management of demand in partnership working group has been exploring the impact on operational policing of budget reductions across public services. Its purpose is to look at all relevant aspects, and it collated a range of evidence to establish the risk to service delivery by the police. Progress has been made in achieving efficiencies and in compliance with service-level agreements.

The force has established systems to manage the demand for its services. These include a business dashboard that informs the resource management panel meetings and financial planning arrangements.

The force has a strong track record in achieving cost savings and effective investment in digitisation. Introducing laptops has been a major organisational change, enabling staff to spend more time away from the station.

The force’s workforce model and annual budget reflect changes in organisational priorities. A review is currently taking place that will identify the skill mix needed for the future. The force has a medium-term financial forecast that sets out the projected savings requirements over the rest of the spending review period. For the current financial year, the police and crime commissioner agreed to use £1.6m of reserves to support revenue spending. The force is fully aware that this is not sustainable. It has a plan to balance budgets in the following financial year by managing headcount.

View the three questions for efficiency


How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 08/12/2016

Wiltshire Police has been assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force has values and behaviours that are clearly understood by the workforce and in line with the Code of Ethics. Treating the people it serves fairly and with respect is at the core of the force values and behaviours, and forms the basis of all training. Our findings this year are consistent with last year’s findings, in which we judged the force to be good in respect of legitimacy.

The force has clear and well-understood values and behaviours that mirror the nine elements of the Code of Ethics. These values and behaviours are embedded within the annual appraisal process and are at the heart of all training.

There is frequent interaction between the workforce and senior officers and, through the chief officers’ web chats and roadshows, and extensive leadership development and communication programmes, the force is able to assess threats and risks to staff wellbeing effectively.

The force has effective processes for vetting and follows national guidelines. Vetting is an agenda item for recruitment and selection meetings for all staff and volunteers, and it is an important element of the annual appraisal process.

The force values and seeks to promote the wellbeing of its staff. It has appointed a mental health nurse to assist because the force has identified an increasing number of psychological issues from its sickness data. Occupational health is available and is perceived as a valuable resource. The force has introduced a confidential care line for self-referrals.

The force could do more to work directly with the public, in particular those who may have less trust and confidence in the police. Its involvement is not innovative and it does not have an independent advisory group (IAG) or key individual network (KIN). Its external channels for challenge and feedback are less well developed than its internal processes.

View the three questions for legitimacy

Other inspections

How well has the force performed in our other inspections?

In addition to the three core PEEL pillars, HMICFRS carries out inspections of a wide range of policing activity throughout the year. Some of these are conducted alongside the PEEL inspections; others are joint inspections.

Findings from these inspections are published separately to the main PEEL reports, but are taken into account when producing the rounded assessment of each force's performance.


Last updated 08/12/2016

Police leadership is crucial in enabling a force to be effective, efficient and legitimate. This inspection focused on how a force understands, develops and displays leadership through its organisational development.

Wiltshire Police has defined clearly what it expects from its leaders and this is understood at all ranks and levels. Training programmes, recruitment processes and promotion procedures focus on the quality and capacity of leadership. All staff HMIC spoke to understood fully and could explain the force’s values. The force has reviewed its leadership capability to identify gaps in knowledge, skills and behaviours and uses this information to appoint the right people to the right roles. The force is confident in its ability to identify and nurture future leaders through its leadership training programme. By taking the radical step of removing some middle and senior police ranks from its management structure, the force has empowered a new pool of prospective current and future leaders. Staff identified as potential senior leaders receive training and they are mentored by a member of the senior command team.

HMIC’s inspection found that staff thought the force’s approach had changed, with more emphasis on personal responsibility for self-development and developing skills to provide better services to the public. They also found there was greater focus on well-being, more ethical recruitment and better leadership development. The force is developing more diverse leadership teams by making some roles formerly open only to police officers accessible to all staff.

View the three questions for leadership

Other reports

Last updated 24/10/2016

This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of Wiltshire Police.

View other reports

Key facts – 2019/20

Force Area

1,346 square miles


0.727m people
up7% local 10 yr change


93% frontline police officers
92% national level
3.04 per 1000 population
3.69 national level
up2% 10yr change in local workforce
down5% 10yr national change

Victim-based crimes

0.04 per person
0.06 national level
down9% Local 5 year trend
up9% National 5 year trend


48p per person per day local
59p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

  • Wiltshire covers a varied but mainly rural geographic area, including flourishing market villages, and strong industrial towns.
  • Wiltshire Police is proud to be a values based organisation, which it uses to provide the best possible service.

Police and crime plan priorities

Wiltshire PCC has set the following priorities for Wiltshire in the Police and Crime plan 2017-21:

  1. Prevent crime and keep people safe
  2. Protect the most vulnerable people in society
  3. Put victims, witnesses and communities at the heart of everything we do
  4. Secure a quality service that is trusted and efficient
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These priorities meet Wiltshire’s threats and challenges and deliver improvements for local communities. The PCC will seek to collaborate and integrate services with public sector partners to keep our communities safe and manage demand.

This will include how we protect the most vulnerable people, how we prevent crime and support those with complex needs. Central to this is Community Policing where police officers, staff, special constables and other volunteers, taking responsibility for all incidents in their communities.

Wiltshire will collaborate with other forces to provide specialist services and work to identify other areas of collaboration across the county. Wiltshire Police will continue to innovate and modernise its workforce, making further investment in ICT.