AS most of us are winding down for some well-deserved time off, officers and staff across North Wales Police are gearing up for the busy festive season.

Whilst many of us will spend Christmas Day opening our presents, tucking into a lovely dinner and watching festive TV so spare a thought for the hundreds of dedicated emergency services staff who will be keeping us safe.

Policing doesn't stop for Christmas so here are just some of those who are spending the day with their work family this year…

Sgt Wayne Francis will be working the night shift this Christmas ready to deal with any prisoners being brought into the cells at Caernarfon Police Station.

This year, Sgt Francis will be working a 12-hour night shift from 7pm-7am so at least I’ll see the kids in the morning. “Christmas lunch will probably help me have a nap before going to work”, he joked.

He said: “I have worked all but two Christmases in the past 11 years in some capacity. It is hard to leave the house but the kids are used to it now and proud of Dad’s job. They understand that working Christmas is important to keep people safe and well – not just police but also hospital staff, other emergency services. My family are aware that it comes with the territory and it would be hard to work Christmas if they were not so understanding and supportive.

“The day shift is more of a struggle, you miss seeing the kids opening their presents, and they would be getting ready for bed by the time you get home. This will be my shift next year according to the rota.

Sgt Francis added that he has also worked a few New Year’s Eve shifts.

He said: “Last year we had a party on a different day of the week and just pretended it was New Year’s Eve. We even celebrated ‘new year’ coming in at midnight. It will be business as usual in the custody suite – no turkey dinners for the detainees but we have brightened the place up a bit with tinsel and Christmas music.”

PC Liam Morris will also be on the night shift over Christmas whilst working on the Roads Policing Unit.

He said: “It is not my first time to be working at Christmas and probably will not be the last. As a shift worker you know you might end up working on Christmas Day so it is expected.

Liam said that it is certainly interesting working over the festive period and that no job is ever the same.

He continued: “As well ensuring the roads are running and motorists are safe, we will also be on standby to assist colleagues in local policing and response.”

Chief Inspector Owain Llewellyn will be providing on-duty cover for four night shifts over the festive period.

He said: "Supported by a professional and skilled team I will oversee any incidents requiring the deployment of our armed officers, missing people assessed to be at high risk and any other events which require a significant police or multi-agency response. Having worked day shifts last year, I have now realised that I need to get my leave requests in sooner!

Chief Insp Owain added that this period is always extremely busy and brings some real challenges but North Wales Police officers, staff and volunteers are always ready and willing to respond to keep our communities as safe as possible.

He continued: "As a father to two young boys I will be a bit gutted to leave the house on Christmas Eve but am pretty confident that Mrs Clause will have the deliveries in hand! Christmas dinner will be delayed until the 27th to avoid me falling asleep half way through. I just need to pre-warn the boys that they won’t be getting another delivery of parcels that day.

"Santa has been early and delivered me some new trainers, so at least I’ll be able to try and run off some of the kilos of mince pies, chocolates and nuts that appear in each police station parade room every December."

Officers are not the only ones that will be on call during the festive season. Catrin Edwards has worked in the control room for almost two years and this will be her first Christmas Day shift.

She said: “I feel privileged to be taking a part in keeping North Wales safe, and ensuring that everyone stays safe over the Christmas period – officers and members of the public. My role involves dispatching and being a call handler for the Western area (Anglesey and Gwynedd). We are hoping for a relatively ‘uneventful’ shift - but we will be powered by chocolate and tea!”

Catrin’s husband, who is a Police Officer in Anglesey, will also be working on a day shift whilst she is going to be working nights.

She added: “We will hopefully celebrate Christmas together and with our families at a later date.”

Another member of policing staff on hand includes Jackie Lavingdon, who has worked in the police control room for 15 years and is currently dispatch for the Conwy and Denbighshire areas.

She said: “I have worked most Christmases and New Years’ but quite enjoy working the Christmas period. I generally offer to swap shifts for any staff who are rostered to work on Christmas Day as I would rather the people with children have the time off. My dogs do not know what day it is and do not care as long as they get a walk and their dinner!”

Also working over Christmas is Elena Edwards, who is a communications operator that covers dispatch for the Wrexham and Flintshire areas.

She said: “It is a rewarding job but can be challenging at times especially around the festive period where demands are higher than usual. It will no doubt be a busy set of shifts ahead for us in the control room and to the officers on the ground – but like every day of the year we all work as one team getting each other through the shift.

Elena adds that it is a hard time of year having to leave immediate family behind to keep North Wales safe, but she is looking forward to spending Christmas time with her friends in blue doing the job that she loves.