I seem to have been spending a lot of time with the Wiltshire Constabulary of late – and no - I am not behind bars! I have been very impressed by the whole experience.
In the aftermath of the sad killing of Sir David Amess, all of the Nation’s Police forces have perhaps unsurprisingly been reviewing individual MP’s security arrangements. I was very impressed not least by the depths of research into my personal surroundings and history they had carried out. My home and office were duly and very thoroughly inspected.
I am glad to say that the outcome of the enquiry came to pretty much the same conclusion as me - namely that I am a very low risk indeed. In my 24 years as your MP no-one has ever once so much as called me a rude name. That’s not the way we do things in North Wiltshire. Disagree with me as much as you want - I rather like that as it stimulates my thought processes and guides me as to how I will vote and speak in the House. But do it respectfully - which I am very glad to report everyone does.
Nonetheless, I welcomed the very discrete attention of PCOs Kelly and Monique outside my surgery in Cricklade. It was all very quiet, so we repaired to the excellent coffee shop in Malmesbury’s Town Hall, which occasioned some pleasant amusement from the other regulars. “I see you’ve got your cops with you, James.” In an absence of rioting, I thought I would pack up early, and my two escorts busied themselves with a passing citizen nursing an injured Little Owl as he took it to the vet. That’s how things are in this area.
That evening I was driving home after a dinner and encountered an old friend of mine slumped over the wheel of his car, which had careered into the ditch. Two of us were able to manoeuvre him onto the tarmac while others applied CPR for the 10 or 15 minutes before the first police and ambulance crews arrived. The sheer professionalism of the way in which they took over from us, controlled the traffic, secured the area, and even cleared up afterwards was a sight to behold. There must have been at least 20 people involved, and a variety of vehicles including the Air Ambulance. We all pray that my friend will recover. He will owe an enormous amount to the brilliant professionalism of all of our blue light services.
We are always too quick to complain in this country; but it is only when you truly need their services that we come to realise how very lucky we are to have these professional, discrete, well-motivated and superbly equipped professionals looking after us. Wiltshire’s Finest indeed.