The Prime Minister’s announcement that 20,000 more police officers will be recruited has been generally well received, but a prominent North Wales officer says they will have to see whether it is “bumbling bluster or a belated boost”.

Mark Jones, secretary of the North Wales Police Federation, says it is great, positive news at a time when resources are stretched to breaking point.

His reservation surrounds the College of Policing decision that from next year all new recruits must have a degree.

“How on earth can 20,000 new officers be realistically recruited, trained and out there on the beat if they are having to spend a significant amount of their time writing about policing instead of actually policing?” he said. “We need human beings to police, not robots churned out with a certificate in a frame at the end. “The public want and demand the very best – absolutely right – but we need people to police who are genuinely compassionate, caring and courageous to tackle the evils in society.”

In his time as a uniformed sergeant in Rhyl, he added, he was not bothered what degree an officer may have gained.

“I just wanted an officer who cared passionately about doing their jobs to the best of their abilities and being able to protect and serve the public.”

Similar reservations have been voiced by Federation representative, Temporary Inspector Tony Latham.

Writing in the Federation newsletter Your Voice, he said: “Many obstacles stand in the way of this recruitment drive, not least who will train them, and given the College of Policing drive for academia, will the sea of water we have fished in for recruits in the past resemble an inland lake?”