Wiltshire

Wiltshire Police cuts plea to time-wasters

Wiltshire Police chiefs have said they "particularly" could not afford time-wasting calls now amid budget cuts.

Chief Constable Brian Moore urged the public not to call with things "clearly not matters for us to deal with".

He said they did not have the time to deal with them - especially at the moment.

The force is reducing the number of stations deploying officers and bringing in new shift patterns to try to save £15m over the next four years.

The "new-style of operational policing" is due to be introduced this week.

As part of the changes, response policing will be operated from four bases across the county instead of nine.

Officers' shift patterns will change to "ensure they are available when they are most needed, including Friday and Saturday nights".

'Don't waste time'

And in "due course" specialist policing, including dog units and armed response units, will operate from police headquarters in Devizes.

Mr Moore said cutting down on the number of irrelevant calls from members of the public was also essential.

"Don't waste my time," he said.

"Don't call us for things that are clearly not matters for us to deal with.

"We don't have the time to do that - we never have had but we particularly don't have now."

The chairman of Wiltshire Police Authority, Christopher Hoare, said they were working "to ensure that the public only call the police when they need them for policing work".

"We've got a new 101 number, which means the public will get a more immediate access to the police so that they can get through quickly and the police will respond quickly," he said.

"And we can respond quickly if we're not doing things which are not strictly policing work."

Kate Pain, from the Wiltshire Police Federation, said officers want to get back to "core policing" and "can't do everything for everybody".

"Recently, a police constable was on patrol and was called to what was quite simply a plumbing matter," she said.

"We recognise that it's difficult if people's homes are being flooded - but that is not a police matter.

"So as a result of the cuts and our restructuring we are going to have to be quite clear in our message about what is and is not a police matter."

Wiltshire Police Authority has said it needs to reduce its £108m annual budget by £15m over the next four years due to government spending cuts.

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