THE North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner has vowed to reverse a dramatic decline in the number of young officers in the force.
Figures obtained by BBC Radio 4 under the Freedom of Information Act revealed a near 50 per cent fall in the number of officers aged under 26 across Wales and England.
In Wales and England there were 9,088 officers aged under 26 in 2009-10, but that declined to 4,758 in 2011-12.
Overall police numbers hit a nine-year low in 2012.
Winston Roddick says the economic downturn hit recruitment, but hopes budget talks lead to more young officers.
He said: “The current economic downturn has undoubtedly affected the recruiting of new police officers.
“However, during my campaign to be elected commissioner, I identified increasing the number of officers on the streets as one of my five priorities.
“I believe this will reduce crime and allay public concern for safety on the streets.”
Mr Roddick said he would be discussing with the chief constable, Mark Polin, “ways and means of achieving this”.
He will also discuss the draft of his first budget with the police and crime panel this week, he added.
“If the budget is confirmed then we shall see an increase in the recruiting of young officers and the figures will rise substantially,” he said.
“The relevant measure of whether a police force is efficient or not is the number of crimes committed in the force area and more particularly, whether the number of crimes is on the increase or the decrease.
“By these criteria, North Wales Police is a very effective police force because there has been a substantial reduction in the number of crimes committed during the past year as compared with other years.
“One reason for this is the response times and in North Wales these are generally acknowledged to be excellent.”