Big step forward in bid to change name of Hampshire Constabulary
A campaign by police and crime commissioner (PCC) Donna Jones to change the name of Hampshire Constabulary has received the backing of Policing Minister Kit Malthouse.
Ms Jones has been campaigning since last summer to change the name of Hampshire Constabulary to include the whole police force area by adding ‘Isle of Wight’ to the formal legal name.
Now the campaign has taken a big step forward following a letter of support from Mr Malthouse, who confirmed he has “instructed officials to take steps to bring forward legislation to change the name of the Hampshire police area to include the Isle of Wight”.
The Hampshire and Isle of Wight PCC announced her bid to change the force name on her first visit to the island in June 2021 following her election. She launched a consultation to give residents the opportunity to have their say and indicate their support for the name change before writing to the Home Secretary to seek her support.
Ms Jones said the rebranding and name changes on police uniforms, cars and buildings will be phased in as equipment is changed and updated. This will prevent any public money being wasted on the name change. She added there will be minimal immediate costs incurred to amend legal documents in the production of court orders and other legal documents thus avoiding costs of a rebranding exercise.
Ms Jones said: “I have received strong support from residents to include the words ‘Isle of Wight’ in the name of Hampshire Constabulary. People on the Isle of Wight indicated to me throughout 2020/21 that they feel disconnected from the mainland. This is not helped by the name of the force being ‘Hampshire Constabulary’.
“I am delighted that my bid to include the Isle of Wight in the police force area name has been successful and will now progress to seek Parliamentary approval.”
She added: “The Isle of Wight is a unique community with a strong sense of identity. This is also complemented by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, which changed its name following the merger with the Isle of Wight Fire Service in 2021, to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service. There will be no big rebranding exercise; this name will be phased in over time.”
Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said: “It is welcome that the people of the Isle of Wight have been able to have their say, that their views have been listened to, and that there is a clear commitment to avoid any unnecessary public cost.”
Bob Seely, the Conservative MP for the Isle of Wight, said: “I am delighted the name change is being taken forward to recognise that the force covers both Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. It is important that the island receives its fair share of support and is not overlooked.
“I am pleased that Donna listened to the voices of island residents and set about making this change. I think she will be an extremely strong PCC and I look forward to working with her to address the island’s needs.”
The exact timeframes for implementing the regulations will be subject to availability of Parliamentary time, although the name change is unlikely to be implemented before this summer – subject to Parliamentary approval.