MP’s fears over cuts in police funding

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

FRESH fears have been raised over the impact of budget cuts on policing in the region.

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas says he came away from a meeting with North Wales chief constable Mark Polin with “real concerns” about staffing levels.

And he believes uncertainty over future funding is a particular threat to community policing.

Mr Lucas said: “One of the problems officers face is in relation to police community support officers as they have still not been told what funds are being made available by the Government.

“The lack of information means the Force cannot plan fully but I understand figures suggesting one in seven police officers could go are basically accurate.
Reductions in staff will obviously mean fewer officers, and these officers may cover a larger area.”

Mr Lucas said he has raised the issue of policing in the House of Commons and called for the Government to debate the issue. He also raised specific concerns about policing in Wrexham as PCSOs in the area are part-funded by Wrexham Council.

He said: “The council chose to get rid of Neighbourhood Wardens – directly employed by councillors – and to replace them with PCSOs. This means there is a special issue in Wrexham regarding community policing, as the council help fund PCSOs alongside the police. If the council and police are being asked to make economies, consideration must be given to how the PCSO scheme will be affected.”

Last month Mr Polin told the Leader he faces the most challenging time in his career after the Chancellor’s announcement police spending will fall by four per cent each year for four years.

He said his priorities are to maintain the police presence on our streets while continuing the force’s commitment to tackling serious and organised crime, adding: “I realise the public want to be reassured by visible policing and that is something I want to safeguard.”

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