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Wight move as Hampshire rebrands to include Royal island

Hampshire is re-branding to include the Isle of Wight.

The second-most populated island in the UK is finally claiming title for its police force.

Hampshire Constabulary is set to rebrand to include the Isle of Wight in its legal name.

The island, beloved by surfers, Royalty and even dinosaur enthusiasts will be formally recognised after a campaign of just a few months by the force’s formidable Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones.

She launched a consultation in June after her first trip to the island 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.

Her success has now been confirmed in a letter from Policing Minister Kit Malthouse.

The exact timeframes for implementing the regulations needed will be subject to availability of parliamentary time, though the name change is unlikely to be implemented before the summer.

It is also not yet known the exact wording of the new constabulary name which will incorporate the Isle of Wight. 

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 2020/2021 that they feel disconnected from the mainland. This is not helped by the name of the force being Hampshire Constabulary.

“The Isle of Wight is a unique community with a strong sense of identity,” she added.

Just how isolated the islanders are was revealed by the force’s award-winning boat team in an interview with Police Oracle last year. If extra officers are needed to deal with an incident, they are ferried over by the crew.

And they’re not the influential people on the island affected by links to the mainland: award-winning actress Celia Imrie who lives there has qualified for a power boat licence to ensure she doesn’t have to rely on the ferry service.

The PCC’s cause was helped by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service who changed their name following the merger with the Isle of Wight Fire Service in 2021, to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service.

But cost-conscious residents have also been assured by the PCC that the rebranding won’t cost them any extra money at a time when budgets are under pressure.

Ms Jones said: “The rebranding and name changes on police uniforms, cars and buildings will be phased in as equipment is changed and updated.”

The force’s Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney, who wants the force to reflect the community it serves, backed the decision.

She 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.”

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