A dedicated team of council staff and police officers has been created to improve Swindon town centre for local businesses and visitors.
The new team is made up of Swindon town centre’s Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) and representatives from council teams such as Streetsmart, Environmental Protection, Licensing, Parking Services, Community Safety and Localities.
The Town Centre Team, which is based in the Town Centre Hub at Swindon Borough Council’s Civic Campus (the former Plus One building), will ensure the town centre is clean, safe and attractive to visitors.
The project is aimed at changing the way public services operate by sharing skills and resources for the benefit of Swindon’s residents.
The joined-up approach will deliver a number of advantages such as the savings from sharing a building, more efficient use of time and closer working relationships, as well as easier access to local data and intelligence. Officers will also be better placed to serve the public in and around the town centre.
Police and council officers will work closely together to tackle anti-social behaviour, look after vulnerable residents and make the town centre a more inviting place for visitors and the business community.
The NPT moved from their base in Henry Street to the new Town Centre Hub on 19 January.
Cllr David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “I am really pleased we have been able to establish this team as it epitomises what One Swindon is all about. If we want to achieve our goals, we need to work more closely with our public sector partners and it is something we have championed for a long time.
“We have big ambitions for the town centre and we have already seen some major regeneration take place with Regent Circus soon to be completed. It is vital we make the town centre a welcoming place for shoppers and businesses alike and by working even more closely with our police partners I’m sure we can make that vision a reality.”
Chief Constable Pat Geenty said: “This is a great opportunity for the NPT and for the wider policing of Swindon Town Centre and I can see real benefits from working together in an open environment.
“It makes sense where we have shared interests with the Council that we work alongside their anti-social behaviour, parking enforcement and street cleaning teams so we can more easily share ideas and knowledge.
“The new space has been designed to promote and encourage interaction and I believe this will make both the council and policing services in Swindon more effective.”
Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said: “We are transforming the way we deliver local policing. By sharing buildings with our council partners we can achieve savings whilst driving up standards of customer service.
“Thanks to our partnership, our NPT now have a far better base than before. They will be well placed to serve the public in Old Town as well as the Fleet Street area and Regent Circus.”
The dedicated town centre team will also build on a number of successful town centre multi-agency operations in the town centre. In November, Swindon’s NPT-led Operation Salida in partnership with the Council’s Licensing and Trading Standards teams which resulted in a licensing offences being identified in a number of premises, illegal alcohol and tobacco being seized from various shops.
Supt Andrew Carr, Operational Commander for Swindon, said: “From an operational perspective, moving the Town Centre Team into shared accommodation will build on the close working relationship which already exists between Neighbourhood Policing Teams and council services.
“It will mean that joint operations, such as Operation Salida, which involve police, Trading Standards, HMRC, Licensing and Immigration, will be even more fruitful as the core agencies involved in this type of operation will be co-located within the Civic Campus.”
The police and the Council also recently teamed up as part of Swindon Community Safety Partnership’s Christmas campaign which delivered a number of crime prevention and safety messages to people in the run-up to and during the festive period.
Joint litter patrols in the Broadgreen area were also carried out last summer by the Council’s Environmental Enforcement team and officers from Wiltshire Police, which were successful in spreading the message about litter enforcement within the Borough and educating the public about keeping Swindon tidy. The officers also spoke with local businesses and helped to clear up the waste in the alleys in the area.
Source:: Wiltshire Police News