The newly-appointed officer in charge of policing in Swindon has issued a plea to the public.

Detective Superintendant Guy Elkins was placed in charge of the town's police last month, and set out his aims in an interview with the Adver.

He highlighted knife crime, anti-social behaviour, child exploitation, and shoplifting among the things he wanted to clamp down on in his new role. 

But, he also wanted to stress that his officers could only respond to crimes and incidents that they knew about, adding it is important that members of the public "give them a chance" by reporting any concerns they might have. 

He said: "A lot of crime in Swindon goes unchallenged. At the last public event I attended a member of the public told me she had seen some anti-social behaviour outside her address, but she didn't report it."

He added: "There are a lot of people who, clearly through their experiences in the past, have been let down by the police, they don't think there's any point in reporting things to us because 'nothing will get done about it'.

"But one call could make all the difference, and we need that information to do our jobs. Any information is so important and allows us to form that policing response."

Mr Elkins explained that one area where this would be crucial is handling use of electric bikes. 

"We're seeing a real issue with electric bikes in the area and we need to be using our community better to tackle it.

"We have individuals riding around very quickly to different areas, so we need the public to call in and engage with us about where they are. If this is happening in your area, please call us."

He said the same thing about knife crime and people, particularly young people, wearing balaclavas. 

"In our recent public community safety partnership meeting, we heard how fearful people were of knife crime and people in balaclavas, with many scared to leave their home.

"If you are scared, that is absolutely the right time to call us, we will come out, we will respond, we will engage with individuals who may be drug dealing, carrying knives or participating in other criminal activity.

"But while we will not tolerate crime on the streets of Swindon, it's important to recognise that this behaviour is part of a wider issue that we cannot just police our way out of.

"We will need to work heavily with our partners, community groups, and local authority to divert people away from criminality and educate people about the dangers."