Wiltshire police chiefs get Plain view of crime and security issues

Wiltshire police chiefs got a bird’s eye view of Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA) as Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) staff gave them the low-down on crime and security issues.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire Angus Macpherson and Assistant Chief Constable Steve Hedley, were given the rare opportunity of viewing the Plain from the air when they visited the training area.

The visit gave Commander Defence Training Estate (DTE) South West Lt Col Mark Hiskett and his team the opportunity to discuss some of the issues and challenges around security, access and crime faced on SPTA and bordering Garrisons.

Commenting on the visit, Lt Col Hiskett said:

“DIO’s priority is to support our Armed Forces as they prepare for operations. We’re pleased to offer the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and the Assistant Chief Constable the opportunity to see the exceptional military training facilities here at Salisbury Plain.

“We also shared some of our prime safety and policing issues and I am confident that we will be able to work together in partnership with Wiltshire Constabulary to address these issues in the future.”

He added that although DIO’s top priority was to meet military training needs, the organization also had a responsibility to ensure that the archaeological and historical value of Salisbury Plain was maintained. This meeting had enabled DIO to demonstrate its work managing the Plain sustainably.

The day began with an introduction to DTE South West and SPTA by Lt Col Hiskett, followed by briefings on dry training, live firing, Garrison Policing issues and public access and security on the Plain.

Topics of discussion included the land management and sustainability of the Plain, public safety, the ongoing work to improve public access, and the additional pressures that will be placed on Salisbury Plain and the surrounding Garrisons as a result of the rebasing of troops from Germany to the UK.

The visitors were given a helicopter tour of the training area, which allowed them to appreciate the vastness of the Plain and observe the splendid archaeology of the area.

A Land Rover tour around the Plain closed the day. The visitors viewed various training facilities, watched the firing of 105mm light guns and looked at various historic sites such as Robber’s Stone. They also saw at first-hand the extent of the damage that can be caused by irresponsible use of off-road vehicles.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon Angus Macpherson said:

“The Plain accounts for about 11 per cent of the area of our county and with the forthcoming increase in personnel coming to both Tidworth and Lyneham there are new challenges which we face, as well as benefits to the local economy. This visit was as a good chance for me to find out more about the area and related crime and security issues.”

Wiltshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Hedley said:

“This was an interesting tour and good opportunity for us to talk face-to-face about safety and policing issues. We will continue to work closely withMinistry of Defence Police, the MOD and military colleagues to provide the best possible policing service to communities living and working in the Salisbury Plain area.”

ENDS

Further information:

Press enquiries to Tony Moran, Senior Communications Officer  0121 311 3879 or email tony.moran572@mod.uk

Notes to editors

1. The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is responsible for providing, developing and maintaining a safe and sustainable training estate and facilities to meet the requirements of Defence. 

2. The area of DIO which delivers these outputs is called the Defence Training Estate (DTE).The DTE specifically supports the training requirements of Defence by providing a safe and sustainable training estate and facilities.

3. The DTE delivers military training facilities and training advice and support in order to prepare troops for operations worldwide.  Safe operation of ranges and live firing areas, including public safety, is a prime consideration.

4. At over 94,000 acres (38,000 hectares) Salisbury Plain is theUK's largest and busiest training area and offers first-class and diverse training facilities to enable the British Army to meet its training requirements to prepare for operations worldwide.  SPTA is maintained by the Defence Training Estate (DTE). DTE's main focus is on delivering military training facilities that support and prepare troops for operations worldwide.

5. Robber’s Stone is an inscribed stone circa 1840.  It is a rectangular limestone pillar about two metres high with a steel plate to front.  The inscription plate records the death of Benjamin Colclough a highway robber, during his attempted escape from the scene of the crime at Imber, October 21st 1839.  He was buried at Chitterne.

6. Photo caption - please credit ‘Crown copyright/MOD 2013’: From left – Training Area Safety Officer Salisbury Plain Lt Col Andy Sherburn, Wiltshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Hedley, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon Angus Macpherson and Commander Defence Training Estate (DTE) South West Lt Col Mark Hiskett.

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