Wiltshire’s residents can’t failed to have noticed that the county has been in a fervent campaigning mode for the last six weeks – all leading up to polling day.

By the time this column is published, the polls will have closed, votes cast and councillors who have won, or retained, their seats will be being announced.

There will also be a new Police and Crime Commissioner – although not yet with verified votes counted – and next week, I will hand over the reins to a new, elected, representative to lead policing in Wiltshire.

It will be a bittersweet moment. I am looking forward to retiring but after working within criminal justice and policing for nearly three decades, I will miss it.

As PCC, there have been many memorable moments but at the heart of everything I have tried to achieve in the last nine years has been protecting those most vulnerable in our communities and ensuring those voices are heard loudly and clearly.

From the outset, I was clear that in order to reduce demand on the policing service, you must do all you can to prevent crime and stop reoffending. I have been involved in a large number of schemes and initiatives which are pivotal to making this happen and have made great strides in these areas.

You cannot differentiate between the performance of the PCC and the performance of the Force. I am responsible to you, the public, for the quality and cost-effectiveness of service delivery. This applies to policing and to criminal justice.

I can confidently say that the force has responded magnificently to the challenge of austerity since 2012, and we continue to enjoy living in a low crime area.

Wiltshire and Swindon are as safe now as they ever have been, despite the challenge of organised criminals attempting to target our area.

We also have relatively high outcome rates – the force is good at catching and convicting criminals. In some significant areas I would like to see much higher outcome rates, such as in sexual offences and domestic abuse, and that remains work in progress.

The key measure is what other professional bodies make of us. I am delighted to report that in every independent assessment of the Force, the judgement has been Good. Sustaining that performance over nine years in the face of austerity cuts has been a massive achievement by our police officers and police staff.

Officer numbers are now increasing, paid for in part by the national uplift, and paid for in part by the rise in the policing part of the council tax. My thanks for residents’ support in this. However, we cannot continue indefinitely to police the force area on the cheap. A fairer funding formula is long overdue.

Much has been achieved since my appointment in 2012, and the role of PCC and my office has evolved immeasurably but, in the meantime, there is still work to do to ensure our communities are best protected, so our residents feel safe and so that criminals know that Wiltshire isn’t a soft option.

So, I wish my predecessor well and immense good fortune, alongside the hope they will have as many happy memories as I have. If I were to give them one piece of advice, it would be they remember this old adage: ‘You can change the world but you cannot change it alone’.