PCC candidate is ex-detective

I’d like to introduce myself personally to your readers as the time has come for them to consider who to elect as the next Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

I’m Mike Rees and I’m standing as an independent candidate for this role – for me, this role should carry no political association. I’m a former detective inspector having served with the Wiltshire Constabulary for 30 years. I live in Malmesbury with my wife Angela and we have three sons. Today I run my own business and Wiltshire has been the backdrop of my life since leaving South Wales at the age of 18.

My motivation for standing for this election is based on a sincere care for the Wiltshire public. I want to ensure police officers and staff have the necessary managerial support, funding, resources and equipment to carry out their vital role in our varied communities.

I’m always the first to acknowledge good work. Equally, I’m not afraid to challenge poor performance or to hold those in senior positions of authority to account when necessary. I’m open and honest and will not ‘paper over the cracks’. If I feel that responsibility for certain tasks doesn’t lie with the police, then I will say so. The public has to understand that we live in financially challenging times in terms of budgets allocated but I will closely scrutinise expenditure to make sure value for money is being achieved.

Among my priorities for Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner are:

Accessibility – Closing successive police stations has made policing more and more remote. I will undertake a robust review of the current police estate and act accordingly. I will address the absence of a police station and custody suite in Salisbury as a matter of urgency.

Value for Money – Repeated requests for an increase in the council tax, particularly during the pandemic, should be the last option. I will closely scrutinise every aspect of police expenditure, including the PCC, to ensure value for money. On behalf of Wiltshire tax payers, I will encourage effective partnerships so as to make the best use of resources and I will lobby government if I feel we are not getting the funding we need.

Nurturing a positive culture – A recent Wiltshire Police Federation survey highlighted that morale and stress are major issues in the force. I will work with senior officers to make certain officers are properly supported in order to enable them to conduct their role with confidence. I will take the mental health of police officers very seriously indeed and take practical steps to support them.

Community action to reduce crime – I will support community groups, particularly around sport, to help turn young people away from crime. I’m heavily involved already in this type of project and I’ve seen the impact it has on individuals – some who had lost their way. I founded the Fatboys Cancer Charity, in 1999 following the death of a close friend, which supports children throughout the UK suffering from cancer and leukaemia and I’m also head coach at my local amateur boxing club in Malmesbury as well as coaching professional boxers. I believe sport is a powerful tool to support those who are disadvantaged.

Any reader who wants to contact me can find me here mrpcc.co.uk

Mike Rees

Independent Candidate for the role of Wiltshire Police & Crime Commissioner


Nature walk joy

I was filled with joy when I read your story about the plan by South Swindon Parish Council to create a nature walk through the town. I have always been an advocate for the ‘greening of the town’ and many years ago I was part of a group that developed ‘The River Ray Parkway’. This utilised public spaces and led from the countryside beyond Coate, through Old Town, along the old railway line to Maldon Hill. Today’s version may well be ‘son of’ and is to be encouraged: we do have plenty of green spaces and with a little creative management they could be linked together. It is not intended that people walk the entire six mile route but dip into what is closest to them.

I do hope that the idea of linking places up is beginning to take place within the council. I have long argued that with selective creation of green corridors then a green halo around the town could be made using the existing, and future, country parks. It would be wonderful if the two museums at Coate and the ability to create an urban farm there too could see residents cycling there and further afield.

Robert Pixton,

Abney Moor