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Friday, 15 February, 2002, 12:40 GMT
Beat bobbies plan attacked
North Wales Police sought extra beat officers
North Wales Police sought extra beat officers
A north Wales AM has attacked North Wales Police's presentation of a bid for more beat officers as "unworkable", after the Police Authority reined in the force's spending plans.

North Wales Police was thwarted in a bid for more than 90 extra officers at an authority meeting on Friday.

The move by Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom for 92 recruits would have meant tax bills rising by up to 37 pence a week - or 19 a year - for the average household.
Alison Halford, Delyn AM
Alison Halford: Critical of plans

Authority members agreed to just 56 officers - some way off the increase Mr Brunstrom had sought.

Delyn AM Alison Halford - a former authority member - said Mr Brunstrom's vision of 92 extra officers on the beat was "unworkable".

"It is a huge sham and disingenuous way of getting more money. You cannot promise these extra officers will spend all their time on the beat," she said.

"Whatever they are trying to do, there will always be something that will take officers away from the streets.

Ms Halford added: "We are already paying council tax and the public is entitled to know where the money has been spent. Will the begging bowl come out again next year?"

Recently, details of a police commissioned survey showed that three-quarters of people in the region were willing to pay more council tax if it meant more police officers.
Police officer, North Wales Police
The bid for more than 90 extra officers was denied

The Home Office has already allocated a grant for 104 additional officers over three years.

North Wales Police had planned to recruit an extra 38 officers next year.

But Mr Brunstrom asked the Police Authority to vote for up to 54 additional beat officers on top of that original figure.

Poll backing

The authority granted 18 more officers on top of the figure of 38.

The force had argued the deal was good value for money, as maintaining the current level of officers would cost up to 11p extra per week and result in policing restrictions.

Armed with an opinion poll of 3,000 people showing 77% would be happy to pay a small amount of extra tax, Mr Brunstrom argued for his additional increase.

The Police Federation had also insisted that local people, particularly pensioners, should not be expected to subsidise inadequate government funding for policing.

See also:

18 Dec 01 | UK Politics
04 Feb 02 | Wales
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