THE number of frontline police officers in North Wales has increased, while financial cutbacks have been made.
The news was contained in a report published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, which said North Wales Police was a good force.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick said: “Finding the necessary savings while protecting frontline services has been a difficult balancing act for North Wales Police.”
He added: “The report shows North Wales Police has been able to restrict the reduction in staff numbers, while at the same time increasing the number and proportion of officers at the sharp end.
“In future, we will need to ensure we achieve even greater value for money and there is more work to be done in terms of collaborating more with other forces.”
“North Wales is keeping up the fight against crime with another year of further reductions in the number of offences – with an overall drop of three per cent in the crime rate – and a consequent drop in the number of victims,” added Mr Roddick.
“The region continues to be one of the safest places in the UK to live, work and visit but there is certainly much work to be done.
“I will continue to work towards improving people’s security at home and their perception of security at home and towards reducing victim-based crime.
“It is important people living, working and visiting North Wales feel safe in public places at all times of the day and at night.”
While welcoming the findings of the HMIC, North Wales Police Chief Constable Mark Polin has sounded a note of caution as the force faces further budget reductions.
Mr Polin said: “It is far from easy to lever out this degree of savings and yet maintain or improve performance.
“The fact we have been able to do so thus far is testament to the hard work and sheer determination of all those who work for the organisation.
“Nevertheless this is set to be tested to the limit as we have been told to expect to find yet further savings of £17.9 million in the next three years, a further reduction of 12 per cent, and yet more after that.”
He said this will call for an examination of how services are prioritised and to consider alternative ways to manage public expectations and demand.
“We simply will not be able to service the level of public expectation that exists now,” he added.