Wiltshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson has said work to address the underlying causes of violence witnessed in Salisbury remain the top of his, and the county police force’s, agenda.
Recent events in Salisbury have seen a major investigation launched by Wiltshire Police following the death of 23-year-old Freddie Jones-Fontete after a serious assault on New Canal in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The incident happened just days after the PCC visited Salisbury City Council leaders to discuss policing and listen to growing concerns about Salisbury police station, officer numbers and funding for CCTV in the city.
Mr Wilkinson said, “Foremost, my thoughts are with Freddie’s family and friends at this traumatic time.
“His death is desperately sad, and no one should go out and not return home to their loved ones.
“I have been fully briefed by the Chief Constable and I know Wiltshire Police will do all they can to bring those responsible to justice.
“It has been a challenging and difficult time for all of the emergency service workers who responded to this incident and they deserve praise for their professionalism.”
Mr Wilkinson said he has already liaised with the city’s mayor Cllr Caroline Corbin and will join the police and local representatives in Salisbury next week to discuss community reassurance work in the coming days and weeks.
“Bringing together the police, local authorities and agencies, my Police and Crime Plan will provide the leadership and coordination to prevent and address the problems that blight our communities.” Mr Wilkinson added.
“My office is already working with partners across the county, including Wiltshire Council to develop a Safety at Night Charter bringing together all those in the late-night economy to ensure a safer night out can be had for all.
“It is very easy to say, and much harder to do in practice, but helping residents of Salisbury feel safe again will be top of my agenda.”
He said he could see how a multi-agency approach of more increased police visibility, better lighting in some areas and extra CCTV cameras could start to make a difference and he was determined to work with Salisbury City Council, Wiltshire Council, and other local agencies, to bring those issues to the fore.
“There does seem to be a growing concern among residents in all different parts of Salisbury around crime and anti-social behaviour,” Mr Wilkinson added.
“This weekend’s incident will have only reinforced those concerns and I appreciate how those communities must be feeling now.
“I am determined to help and to push forward a multi-agency approach – only by looking at the causes, symptoms and consequences of anti-social behaviour and crime collectively – will we start to make a difference and only by working together can we make Wiltshire safer.”