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Wiltshire PEEL 2018


How effectively does the force reduce crime and keep people safe?

Last updated 02/05/2019

Wiltshire Police is good at preventing and investigating crime, and at protecting vulnerable people. It needs to improve how it tackles serious and organised crime (SOC).

The force understands vulnerability well. It could improve its supervision of control room staff by taking more dip-samples of audio files.

The force responds well to incidents involving vulnerable people, especially domestic abuse victims. Officers understand their responsibilities in safeguarding children. The force uses its legal powers, such as Clare’s Law, to protect victims of domestic abuse. It surveys all domestic abuse victims.

The force has enough case handlers to manage violent and sexual offenders and registered sex offenders. It tracks down offenders who view indecent images of children online.

Wiltshire Police needs to improve how it tackles SOC. It understands the level of threat well and now maps all organised crime groups promptly. But it needs to improve its prevention of SOC.

Because the force does not complete disruption assessments, it cannot check its success in disrupting crime and learn what works best.

It is too soon to know whether recent changes have improved how well the force works with other agencies in exchanging intelligence on SOC.

Questions for Effectiveness


How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?


This question was not subject to detailed inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2016 effectiveness inspection has been carried over.


How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?


This question was not subject to detailed inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2016 effectiveness inspection has been carried over.


How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?


We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the force’s performance in this area.

Understanding and identifying vulnerability

Wiltshire Police is good at understanding and identifying vulnerable people. The force has a clear definition of vulnerability and a helpful strategy that clearly sets out the principles of its approach to dealing with, and protecting, people who are vulnerable.

Officers and staff are expected to support vulnerable victims. We found that the workforce showed a good understanding of the nature and scale of vulnerability. A designated chief officer is responsible for the overall protection of vulnerable people. This officer chairs a vulnerability board that checks compliance with the expected standards and the quality of the service that local people receive. The board is responsible for maintaining an overview and understanding of the 13 categories of vulnerability that have been specified by the College of Policing. Categories include domestic abuse, serious sexual offences, mental health, modern slavery and forced marriage. The force works closely with local authorities and other partner agencies. It has representatives on the safeguarding boards for adults and children and on community safety partnerships. This helps the force identify where harm is likely to occur, including hidden harm and forms of exploitation that may exist in local communities.

The force recently consulted its frontline staff to review the effectiveness of its vulnerability strategy. The consultation took the form of an online survey. This asked staff how well they recognised vulnerability, how it affected their thinking and how it influenced the services they provide. The survey outcomes have been evaluated and improvements identified. A review was due to take place at the December 2018 vulnerability board. We look forward to finding out how the force acts on the recommendations.

Wiltshire Police was one of the pilot forces for the College of Policing’s vulnerability training package. Over 200 frontline officers and staff have already received this training, with a further ten training days scheduled up to February 2019. The force has invested in training, and in the continued professional development, of officers in its public protection teams. It works with the local authority to provide a multi-agency vulnerability training course.

Wiltshire Police is good at identifying vulnerable people when they first contact the police. This includes identifying repeat victims, victims of domestic abuse and people with mental health conditions. Call takers respond to calls appropriately and follow a structured risk assessment process to ensure a consistent approach. All call handlers have been trained to use the national risk assessment tool, known as THRIVE (threat, harm, risk, investigation, vulnerability and engagement).

In the sample of calls we listened to, we found that staff generally applied the THRIVE model well. IT systems easily allow the force to identify cases involving vulnerable people by using markers that identify repeat victims and suspects by name or location. Operators check with callers to find out if they have contacted the force before and can select from a menu of options to assist them in classifying risks. The options include domestic abuse, anti-social behaviour, concern for safety and missing people. This can help identify people who may be vulnerable.

The processes are used consistently and we found that the specific features of vulnerability are identified and understood. We found that call takers have a good understanding of the needs of vulnerable people. Officers and staff in the control room apply their training and show a good understanding of the importance of taking immediate action to protect people with mental health problems.

However, the force needs to improve its supervision of control room staff. We found immediate supervision and support to be effective. But, whereas other forces regularly dip-sample audio files to assess performance and improve services, Wiltshire Police does not. When supervisors perform such dip-samples, they obtain more information about how well their control room staff are working.

Responding to incidents

The force responds promptly to incidents involving vulnerable people to keep them safe. Over three-quarters of calls from domestic abuse victims receive an immediate response, within 20 minutes, or a priority response, within 60 minutes. When officers respond to incidents, we found that control room staff supply sufficient information to help them deal with vulnerabilities and risks and keep people safe.

Officers attending a crime scene, including domestic crime or other incidents, have a clear understanding of what to do if they identify someone who is vulnerable. Once officers identify a vulnerable person, they use a risk assessment tool known as DASH (domestic abuse, stalking and harassment). This helps them to assess the risk in cases such as domestic or so-called honour-based abuse, stalking and harassment. Once complete, DASH forms are sent promptly to one of two multi-agency safeguarding hubs (MASHs). Here, specialist staff review the risk assessments and decide on safeguarding options.

When officers attend incidents involving violent, abusive or sexual behaviour, they record details of any children who live in the household and whether they were present at the time of the incident. Officers and staff clearly understand their responsibility to identify and make referrals for these children to other agencies for assessment and support. The process means that all recorded information on the risk assessment is instantly visible to all statutory safeguarding partners and other interested parties, such as third-sector organisations.

Officers we spoke to had a good understanding of how to safeguard victims. For example, they help people find refuges if they are in danger of further abuse. They also put them in touch with other domestic abuse service providers, such as Swindon Women’s Aid.

Across the county, Wiltshire Police has worked hard with partner organisations, including the NHS and local councils, to broaden its understanding of the nature and scale of vulnerability. Together, they have developed health and wellbeing boards, community safety partnerships and the Swindon and Wiltshire Anti-Slavery Partnership.

Police intelligence analysts also provide the force with a better understanding of vulnerability. They develop ‘problem profiles’ to identify certain types of crime that may disproportionately affect particular communities. These include knife crime, abuse by sexual predators and victimisation by county lines criminals based outside Wiltshire. (County lines offenders are part of organised crime groups that use mobile phone lines to extend their drug dealing operations to new locations.)

We saw good examples of how Wiltshire Police targets criminals who exploit vulnerable people. One example involved local officers working effectively with specialist detectives to safeguard victims coerced into forced labour by gangs involved in laying tarmac.

An important feature of safeguarding domestic abuse victims is taking action against offenders. The force clearly expects officers to act to protect victims. Often this involves arresting suspected offenders. However, sometimes arrest is not justified. Officers we spoke to were aware of their responsibilities and powers. They arrest domestic abuse perpetrators in 34 percent of domestic abuse incidents. The force does not record the number of domestic abuse perpetrators who attend police stations voluntarily, so we are unable to provide this additional information.

People can apply for information via the domestic violence disclosure scheme (DVDS). Also known as Clare’s Law, the scheme allows the police to disclose information to partner agencies about a perpetrator’s violent past. Partner agencies can then make informed decisions about the risks that victims and their children may face.

Between 2016 and 2017, Wiltshire saw an increase in the total number of disclosures of both ‘right to ask’ and ‘right to know’ applications. The number of ‘right to ask’ disclosures grew from 14 in the 12 months to June 2017 to 62 in the 12 months to June 2018. Similarly, the number of ‘right to know’ disclosures increased from 70 in 2016/17 to 122 in 2017/18.

The force provides a mental health triage service in partnership with the NHS Mental Health Trust. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A qualified mental health practitioner is based in the force control room to help officers and staff provide the most appropriate service. Staff who use the triage service can give feedback to the force and partner agencies about how effectively it is working.

We found that frontline officers and staff had a good understanding and awareness of mental health; there is regular joint training with mental health partner agencies. In partnership with the local NHS mental health trust, the force has produced a training video to help staff understand the implications and complexities of a mental health crisis.

The force has effective, well-developed relationships with external partner organisations. These include the probation service, children’s services and the Avon and Wiltshire partnership for mental health. They all help the force to support vulnerable people.

Through its established processes, the force can analyse data and exchange information on vulnerable people with other safeguarding agencies. This exchange of information takes place at different contact points, including the MASH and in the mental health triage service.

Supporting vulnerable victims

Wiltshire Police is good at keeping vulnerable people safe. Community policing teams (CPTs) use technology, such as smartphone apps, to make referrals to the National Centre for Domestic Violence. This means referrals of domestic abuse victims to partner agencies are made without delay. Officers are also involved in the continued safeguarding of vulnerable victims, including children at risk of sexual exploitation. Officers and staff work in established multi-agency child sexual exploitation and missing persons teams in both local authority areas. Neighbourhood officers work with specialist teams to keep vulnerable victims safe.

The force makes use of its legal powers to protect victims of domestic abuse. In the 12 months to 31 March 2018, superintendents assessed 35 domestic violence protection notices (DVPN); 28 were authorised and none were breached. The force applied to the court for 24 domestic violence protection orders (DVPO); 21 of which were granted and four were breached. Officers and staff have a growing understanding of the value of these orders in protecting victims. The force responds appropriately to DVPO breaches so that vulnerable victims remain protected.

The force is making greater use of Clare’s Law. In the year to 31 March 2018, the force made 193 ‘right to know’ applications to the DVDS domestic violence disclosure scheme. In response, 112 were provided. Through the domestic violence disclosure scheme, 70 ‘right to ask’ applications were made; all 70 resulted in a disclosure.

The force has recently conducted an audit to find out whether it is using arrests correctly to safeguard victims, especially concerning domestic abuse offences. The same audit also reviewed the effectiveness of evidence-led prosecution opportunities.

In December 2018, the vulnerability development board discussed the results of the audit and considered the recommendations. Subjects included the use of arrest, voluntary attendance, police bail and ‘released under investigation’ (RUI). The audit is focused on two areas. The first considers how the force tracks investigations concerning suspects released under investigation. The force considers RUI to have particular relevance for young people and for summary offences that have a six-month limit on proceedings. The results of the review should help the force improve its investigative standards.

The second area covered by the review was that of voluntary attendance. The force has established a voluntary attendance transition group that will consider, among other factors, attendance, interviews both at and away from police stations, and the collection of biometrics. The group will submit its findings to the crime, justice and cyber board.

The force uses pre-charge bail to keep victims of domestic abuse safe, but cannot access this information easily. The force expects the introduction of new data monitoring software (Qlik Sense) to improve its performance in this area.

Wiltshire Police contributes effectively to the county’s two MASHs, based in Swindon and Trowbridge. During our inspection, we visited the MASH in Trowbridge. We found that it was managing referrals effectively.

Referrals are graded according to an assessment of threat and risk of harm. Levels of risk are presented visually to decision makers using a red, amber and green classification. Workloads in the unit are manageable. Agencies in the hub have a shared vision to support vulnerable people. For example, a leading human rights charity has trained members of the joint team so they can improve the services provided to victims of so-called honour-based violence and forced marriage.

The force works with its partner agencies, including education, probation, health and children’s services, to ensure the provision of appropriate safeguarding arrangements for vulnerable people. It reviews all domestic abuse incidents daily to assess risks and put urgent safeguarding actions in place.

Multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARACs) in Wiltshire are effective. They agree individual multi-agency plans to provide support to victims. Skilled decision makers assess all domestic abuse incidents, and all high-risk cases are referred to the MARAC. The force’s three MARACs take place once a fortnight. The Swindon MARAC undertook a self-assessment in summer 2018. That assessment established that few victims identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or disabled. Wiltshire Police refers 64 percent of the total cases that the MARACs consider. As a result of the self-assessment, Wiltshire Police and its partner organisations set up a multi-agency group to look at ways to encourage more victims from these under-represented groups to report domestic abuse.

The force seeks and uses feedback from vulnerable victims and from other users to improve its services. Our 2017 effectiveness report said the force should improve the ways it obtains feedback from victims of domestic abuse, including those who do not support police action. The force has now addressed this problem and surveys domestic abuse victims to help improve its services.

The force audits footage taken from the body-worn video cameras officers use at domestic abuse incidents. These audits assess the standard of service the officers provide. They also look for examples of unconscious bias, such as when an officer’s behaviour has unwittingly discouraged a victim from supporting a prosecution. The force uses such footage to educate officers and encourage them to take a more positive, supportive approach to victims.

The force has enough case handlers to manage sexual and violent offenders (MOSOVO). This means that it can effectively manage the risks registered sex offenders (RSOs) pose to the public. At the time of our inspection, the force had 87 risk assessments of RSOs outstanding; none of the outstanding cases was graded as high risk.

Offender risk assessments use the nationally recognised ARMS model and involve external agencies. Every RSO in Wiltshire must undergo an annual ARMS assessment, regardless of risk, unless they are subject to active management. If the force receives new information, or if a significant change has occurred, it will complete a new ARMS assessment and create a revised risk management plan. We were pleased to see that applying national guidance has made risk assessments more accurate. This means the force can manage low-risk offenders more proportionately so that high-risk individuals can receive more attention.

The force makes good use of technology to locate and prosecute offenders who view indecent images of children online. It works closely with the National Crime Agency to pursue the most harmful offenders and prevent further harm to young people.

The force makes good use of legislation to protect the public from dangerous offenders and sexual predators. It seeks to control their behaviour by applying to the courts for ancillary orders designed to restrict their lifestyle and activities. The force reports that 55 sexual harm prevention orders (SHPOs) were issued in the year to 31 March 2018 and 14 were breached. During our visits to local police stations, we found that CPTs were aware of RSOs living in their local areas. CPT members help actively supervise RSOs to reduce the level of risk to the public.

Summary for question 3

How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The force should improve its processes for lifetime management of organised criminals to minimise the risks they pose to local communities. This should include routine consideration of ancillary orders, powers available to partner agencies and other tools that can deter organised criminals from continued offending.
  • The force should assign capable lead responsible officers to all active organised crime groups (OCGs) as part of a long-term, multi-agency approach to dismantling them. These officers should understand their responsibilities clearly and adopt a ‘4P’ structure for managing OCGs.
  • The force should improve neighbourhood teams’ awareness of organised crime groups to ensure that they can reliably identify these groups, collect intelligence and disrupt their activity.
  • The force should evaluate the impact of its activity on serious and organised crime and its application of the ‘4P’ plans to ensure that it learns from experience and knows which disruption activities are the most effective.

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the force’s performance in this area.

Understanding threats

Wiltshire Police understands the threats posed by serious and organised crime (SOC). The force has structures and processes to assess the level of those threats, particularly when they come from county lines, human trafficking, modern slavery and criminal exploitation. It uses the MoRiLE (management of risk in law enforcement) assessment tool to determine and prioritise the risk from organised crime.

The force has developed a SOC Local Profile, which contains data mainly drawn from police systems, but also from partner organisations such as Trading Standards. The force shares these profiles with partners. Specialist staff working in bespoke teams, or ‘desks’, scan and monitor intelligence for specific types of organised crime daily to identify existing and emerging concerns. They develop SOC intelligence relating to the threats identified as the most relevant or harmful to local communities. These include organised crime, modern slavery and emerging gang culture. Each theme has its own problem profile, with an overarching 4P plan. Plans are reviewed every quarter through the force tasking process. We found sound structures and processes in place to deal with county lines and modern slavery. The force now needs to extend them to cover other types of organised crime.

In 2016, we found that the force did not map all organised crime groups (OCGs) promptly once they had been identified, nor were they reassessed regularly in line with national standards. This year, we found that the force has addressed both of these areas. It has mapped 22 OCGs per million head of population; the national rate is 35 OCGs per million head of population. The force identifies new OCGs and will map urban street gangs (USGs) and county lines groups if they meet the threshold assessment of an OCG. The force has not yet mapped any USGs.

The force has a clear intelligence requirement. It expects officers and staff to gather intelligence to help it understand gaps in its knowledge of a particular crime group or crime type, such as human trafficking. However, we found that specialist teams were separately developing their own intelligence to inform their tactics because of a lack of timely intelligence support.

The force works closely with the Regional Organised Crime Threat Assessment (ROCTA) team to map, review and archive OCGs promptly.

A mobile tasking and briefing tool (TaB) informs CPT members about specific tasks designed to gather intelligence or disrupt OCG activity. The TaB draws on information from a range of intelligence systems, including open source social media and other less obvious options, to inform the force’s understanding of SOC. We saw examples of this in officers’ work with partner organisations in MASHs. Operation Repose is a community-led approach designed to tackle knife crime, child exploitation, youth violence, anti-social behaviour, street level drug-dealing and gang-related behaviour.

In July 2018, the force ran a campaign called Beyond the Beat, which was designed to inform the public about hidden demand. It told the public about frontline activity and targeted problems that the public knows little of, such as cyber-crime and modern slavery.

Serious and organised crime prevention

Wiltshire Police should improve its approach to preventing SOC. The force has undertaken several initiatives to identify people at risk of being drawn into organised crime to deter them from offending. This includes working with partner agencies through Operation Aident to identify those who are vulnerable to ‘cuckooing’ (where drug dealers take over the home of a vulnerable person to use it as a base for drug dealing). It also includes proactive enforcement activity based on specific, targeted intelligence.

The force supports diversionary schemes such as junior good citizens and ‘always available adults’, which is the force’s scheme to mentor local children at risk. Together with its partners agencies, the force has introduced an early intervention co-ordination board. This collaborates on existing mechanisms, such as Mini Police, Knife Crime and Call In and co-ordinates youth engagement services. The force has recently added early intervention officers to CPTs. These initiatives have yet to be evaluated so the force doesn’t know if they are successful at preventing people from engaging in organised crime. The force has not formally identified any urban street gangs. Therefore, it has not made use of gang injunction legislation.

In 2016, we found the force’s approach to lifetime offender management was ineffective. We checked on the progress it has made in this area during our recent inspection. We found that staff are still unaware of the processes involved in the lifetime management of the most serious offenders. The force has not done enough to improve its performance and must address this sustained area for improvement.

We found that the force uses civil orders inconsistently. These orders can be helpful in managing and controlling the behaviour and activities of the most serious offenders. The workforce demonstrated a lack of understanding and knowledge about the potential effectiveness of civil orders.

The force makes some use of serious crime prevention orders (SCPOs). At the time of our inspection there were three active orders in place, with a further order pending. It is intended that newly designated lead responsible officers (LROs) will manage these orders as part of their activity in managing OCGs. But at the time of our inspection the LROs were still being trained so we were unable to assess the outcomes of their involvement.

The force engages effectively with the public about its work on SOC. It publicises success stories to raise awareness of the impact of organised crime on communities. Media campaigns, including CTRL + OUT + DELETE and Op Sceptre, have sought to address the risks of knife crime. The force briefs its partner agencies on the impact of organised crime and raises awareness of county lines. Officers have given presentations in local colleges to tell students and parents about the risks. The force also uses social media to inform the public about organised crime. It has secured money from the police transformation fund to educate the business community about the risks and signs of human trafficking and modern slavery.

Disruption and investigation

Wiltshire Police is good at prioritising its work to tackle SOC. It examines the level of identified threat, prioritises activity and then addresses the problems SOC poses. To focus its activities on the most serious threats, the force conducts a quarterly review of its thematic 4P plans. This is done as part of its control strategy to refresh the SOC priorities. Despite these reviews, the force has not made any recent referrals to the regional organised crime unit (ROCU), either to get support or to use the unit’s expertise to tackle the more serious OCGs. However, the force has drawn on ROCU help and tactics in the past.

Until recently, a strategic organised crime board oversaw the partnership approach to tackling SOC. It was accepted that there was scope to improve the effectiveness of the board. As a result, governance of SOC has recently been transferred to the local community safety partnership (CSP) boards. The force and its partners hope that co-ordination of the multi-agency response to organised crime will be more effective in the future. We were unable to assess the quality of the approach during our inspection. Force analysts will review the value of this transfer over the next three to six months and we will continue to monitor progress and outcomes.

In 2016, we said the force needed to engage routinely with its partner agencies at a senior level to improve the exchange of intelligence and promote effective, multi-agency responses to SOC. While plans now exist to address these gaps, it is too early to say whether the new arrangements will improve performance in this area.

The force has good structures in place to investigate SOC and particularly county lines. It regularly debriefs policing operations to identify organisational learning. But it lacks an established process for co-ordinating activity against OCGs. Instead, it takes a local area approach to managing them.

The force recently trained CPT inspectors in the role of LRO. This is a very recent development, so they are not yet sufficiently knowledgeable or experienced. Consequently, the force is not yet equipped with the skills it needs to manage OCGs.

At the time of our inspection, no 4P management plans existed for any mapped OCGs. The force needs to address this gap promptly and it is a specific area for improvement.

The force uses a range of covert and overt tactics to disrupt and dismantle OCGs. But it makes limited use of orders and does not routinely allocate financial investigators to OCG investigations. The ROCU has made new assets available to the force. These include a disruption team, an assisting offenders team and a regional organised crime threat assessment (ROCTA) team. The new teams aim to improve intelligence, analysis and the response to organised crime demand. They should also create better tools and services, allowing the force to maximise disruption opportunities.

The force already engages with the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) to ensure it considers the full range of intelligence options in the fight against organised crime. Successful operations include Supermarine, a long-term, covert investigation into modern slavery and human trafficking involving a foreign national OCG that was trafficking women into the off-street sex industry. Other examples are Operation Kestrel 2, a regional initiative to tackle foreign national offenders, and Operation Evolve, an extensive multi-agency operation tackling OCGs and county lines in Salisbury. The Wiltshire Anti-Slavery Partnership has also developed a dedicated victim reception centre facility.

Wiltshire Police actively disrupts OCGs. Its records show 1.25 disruptions per OCG, which is about half the national rate for OCG disruptions in England and Wales at 2.78 per OCG.

The force does not complete disruption assessments. Without evaluating its work, it cannot be sure that its methods are effective over the medium to long term, beyond the pursue element of the 4Ps. Short-term pursue activity is assessed and reviewed through the tasking processes. Debriefs are conducted to identify learning opportunities after operational interventions. There are also examples of local partnership evaluations that assess the impact of SOC. However, the force is not collecting any learning at a local level to improve the organisation in a sustained way.

In our visits to CPTs we found their involvement in OCG disruption activity to be inconsistent. As outlined earlier, the force intends to address this gap by training CPT team inspectors to be LROs, but this remains a current gap for the force.

Summary for question 4

How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?


Understanding the threat and responding to it

At the time of our inspection, Wiltshire Police operated a joint arrangement on armed policing with Avon and Somerset Constabulary and Gloucestershire Constabulary. Since undertaking our inspection, the three forces have announced they will cease joint working arrangements from 1 April 2019. After that date, each force will be responsible for providing its own independent services.

Wiltshire Police has sufficient understanding of the potential harm facing the public, but the regional assessment will need to be revised. The current APSTRA conforms to the requirements of the code and to College of Policing guidance. The APSTRA is published annually, accompanied by a register of risks and other observations. The designated chief officer often reviews the register, to maintain the right levels of armed capability and capacity.

All armed officers in England and Wales are trained to national standards. There are different standards for each role that armed officers perform. Officers trained to an armed response vehicle (ARV) standard attend most armed incidents in Wiltshire Police’s area. However, incidents sometimes occur that require the skills and specialist capabilities of more highly trained officers.

We found that Wiltshire Police, together with Avon and Somerset Constabulary and Gloucestershire Constabulary, has good arrangements to mobilise specialist officers should their skills be required. At the time of our inspection, Wiltshire Police had sufficient specialist capabilities. We will continue to monitor its performance in this area once the existing collaboration arrangements have ended.

Working with others

It is important that effective joint working arrangements operate between neighbouring forces. Armed criminals and terrorists are not limited by county boundaries. Consequently, armed officers must be prepared to deploy flexibly in the knowledge that they can work seamlessly with officers in other forces. It is also important that any one force can call on support from surrounding forces in times of heightened threat.

The force’s current arrangements with Avon and Somerset Constabulary and Gloucestershire Constabulary mean that Wiltshire Police can call on additional ARV or specialist capability if it needs to. This extra capability aligns well with the threats set out in the APSTRA.

We also examined how well prepared forces are to respond to threats and risks. Armed officers in Wiltshire Police are trained in tactics that take account of the types of recent terrorist attacks. The force also has an important role in designing training exercises with other organisations that simulate these types of attacks. We found that these training exercises are reviewed carefully so that learning points are identified and improvements made for the future.

We found that, while Wiltshire Police regularly debriefs incidents that armed officers attend, it does not always identify best practice and areas for improvement. We recommend the force review its operational debriefing procedures to deal with this. It is important not to overlook opportunities to improve performance.

The three forces in the tri-force collaboration (Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Avon and Somerset) have announced that their successful joint working arrangements will cease from 1 April 2019. Current ways of working mean training standards, armed deployments and how armed operations are managed are the same in all three forces. Discontinuing the current arrangements may undermine this position. We have concerns about:

  • the development of isolated practices and procedures that are not recognised by other forces in the region; and
  • the possibility that armed officers in the three forces will not be able to work as effectively together in the future.

We will track these developments carefully to check that standards are maintained and that public safety is not compromised.

Summary for question 5