Wiltshire Police 'rising to challenges' of Amesbury incident

Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Kier Pritchard and Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 12:54pm 12th July 2018. (Updated at 4:21pm 12th July 2018)

The county's Chief Constable and Crime Commissioner have praised the way officers and staff are coping with extra pressures.

Wiltshire's Police officers have been dealing with some unprecedented incidents in the last four months - with the Salisbury spy poisoning being followed by the Amesbury novichok incident.

In between there's also been 'normal' policing to deal with and large scale events like summer solstice at Stonehenge, the royal wedding and the visit to Salisbury of Prince Charles and Camilla.

Charles and Camilla
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall took a walkabout around the Market Square last month

Wiltshire's Chief Constable Kier Pritchard says he's 'hugely proud' of the way his officers have risen to the challenge though:

"The way that they've responded to this latest incident has been to step forward, to support every request that we've made of them. We've had to change shifts, we've had to cancel some rest days, to make sure that we're able to continue to provide a physical policing presence."

COPS ON CORDONS - PART 2:

A number of other police forces have been helping with the huge operation over the last week or so.

Wiltshire Police tell us around 20 other areas have drafted officers in, from constabulary in places like Avon and Somerset, South Wales, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside amongst others.

Rollestone street barricade salt lane end
Police officers have been manning cordons at places including Rollestone Street in Salisbury

Kier Pritchard says we should ask any questions we want to the officers on cordons too:

"Please go and speak to them, they're ready to answer your questions. We've got colleagues from Public Health England also with them on the ground, again ready to help with any specific health related information. Please don't feel there's a problem in raising any concerns at all, we would rather we heard from you."

Public helplines have been set up for people with worries about the incident to get in touch with police and health officials.

The numbers for those are 0800 092 0410 or 020 7158 0124.

More than 550 calls have been made to the helplines so far - they're open from 8.00am to 8.00pm each day.

Amesbury Baptist Church Cordon July 2018
Another cordon's been set up at Amesbury's Baptist Church

'WELL LOOKED AFTER' OFFICERS:

The Government has announced more support for Wiltshire Police in the wake of the Amesbury incident - to cover the cost of the additional policing operation.

The force is getting an extra £2.5 million from the Home Office.

Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, says that Government funding is welcome, but there are more important thing to worry about:

"The budget is not the prime concern at the moment, I'm very happy that the Government have undertaken to repay Wiltshire for this. We need to look after our officers and staff who are on these cordons and supporting the national terrorism activity, to make sure they are well looked after."

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