Words matter when it comes to elections

Reference your headline, Police issue statements after candidate says his plans are 'approved', thank you for taking the time to pursue this important local story.

My disagreement with Coun Seed has been well publicised in recent weeks, including within the Advertiser.

We would all welcome additional police resources and Wiltshire Police deserve our fullest support. Despite the councillor’s claims, I still stand by my view that it is not feasible to recruit an additional 100 officers within the existing budget.

Coun Seed’s recent claim that his plan had been approved by the Chief Constable and Chief Finance Officer outraged many retired officers and police staff.

Approval from them would have undermined the election process by implying support for Coun Seed. I know both of these Chief Officers and I would have been staggered if they had acted in this manner.

After years of personal experience of managing police budgets, I know that difficult choices have to be made. Recruiting an additional 100 officers within the existing budget would mean that sacrifices would have to be made elsewhere.

It is my view that these sacrifices would greatly outweigh any advantages to be gained from this proposal.

We now know that Coun Seed has been contemplating making redundancies with PCSOs potentially being in his sights.

This is at a time when Wiltshire Police has been deservedly praising PCSOs through social media for the contribution that they make in keeping us safe.

In challenging Coun Seed’s assertion I have discovered that there appears to be no statutory body that regulates the conduct of candidates within an election, which is a concern.

It does however underline the importance of having a free and independent press, who are able to hold those seeking public office to account.

Perhaps more importantly, it is vital that at a local level outlets such as the Advertiser can address issues that would not attract national headlines.

In conclusion, I fervently believe that public officials, whether that be police officers or PCCs, should be held to the highest standards in terms of their integrity.

Trust is earned and cannot be expected due to rank or status. This is how we are able to police by consent. In short, words matter.

So I am indebted to the Advertiser for pursuing this story and I will leave it to the voters to decide on the integrity of the candidates in the current PCC election.

Paul Howlett

Retired Chief Superintendent

Wiltshire Police

No 10 redecoration costs a trivial matter

The Covid-19 virus is at last in retreat because of the fantastic vaccines that have been created by the wonderful laboratories in Britain.

We should all support these vaccines as the only way to get out of the sickness quagmire that has enveloped the world.

Unfortunately the Labour Party is only concerned about the cost of decorating the Prime Minister's flat at 10 Downing Street.

This is a government owned building and all necessary repairs should be paid for by the state.

I cannot believe that the Labour Party is making a fuss about such a trivial matter as a bit of redecorating to a government building in be the middle of the current national medical emergency.

Steve Halden

Beaufort Green