Wiltshire PCC: Candidates debate station closure

Candidates for the post of police and crime commissioner (PCC) for Wiltshire have clashed over the potential closure of Salisbury police station.

There are fears Wiltshire Police is considering closing the station on Wilton Road due to cuts to the force.

Five of the six candidates agreed to try to save the station if they were elected as commissioner.

But Conservative candidate Angus Macpherson said he did not believe it was a commissioning decision.

On 15 November, 37 police and crime commissioners will be elected in England, along with four in Wales.

The PCCs, as they will be known, will be tasked with scrutinising their force and holding it to account.

Speaking in a live debate on BBC Wiltshire, Mr Macpherson said: "Salisbury police station is an operational station, it has a custody suite.

"I have a chief constable and if he comes to me and says operationally he'd like to do something with Salisbury, he'd like to close it or move it, then I will support him if the business case is there.

"But I'm certainly not going to say I will close or I won't close, as that's not what commissioning is about."


Colin Skelton, Independent, said Mr Macpherson's refusal to say he would keep the station open was a "prevarication".

He described the potential closure of the station as a "major issue" and said there was "no chance" of it closing if he was elected.

Liberal Democrat candidate Paul Batchelor said: "We need to have a police station open in Salisbury."

The station at Wilton Road is the divisional headquarters for the Salisbury and south Wiltshire area.

Wiltshire Police is currently considering a number of different options, including moving neighbourhood policing teams to a new Wiltshire Council hub, with custody cases taken to Melksham.

During the debate, Clare Moody for Labour and Independents Liam Silcocks and John Short all agreed they would keep the station open if they won the PCC role.

Asked what their other priorities would be if elected, Ms Moody said she had two clear aims - tackling anti-social behaviour and also "putting victims at the heart of the justice system".

All agreed that more voluntary neighbourhood police teams were needed to bolster the ranks of the police force in Wiltshire.

Mr Short said: "It's a fact of life that recruitment will be going in that area and I will be endorsing that to make sure there are more people on the ground."

Mr Silcocks said tackling drug-related crime would be a "top priority" if he were elected. He said the "villages, the rural areas and inner cities are all affected".

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