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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 July, 2003, 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK
Police chief denies speed 'obsession'
Figures show only 6% of burglaries in April were solved
A police chief has rubbished reports he was obsessed with catching speeding motorists at the expense of fighting crime.

Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom said his force's worst burglary detection rates yet, with only 6% of burglaries solved in the month of April, were no more than a "blip" in the figures.

His comments came as he launched a second robust defence of his force in as many days, following newspaper reports he was more interested in catching speeding drivers than criminals.

On Tuesday, he had hit out a pensioner who had complained of police practice after being caught speeding, accusing him of "anti-social behaviour" and comparing him with a "17-year-old yob".

On Wednesday at a meeting of the North Wales Police Authority in Colywn Bay, Mr Brunstrom dismissed the 6% burglary detection rates to date as a statistical anomaly.

Mr Brunstrom told authority members that was just a "blip" in the figures following a sudden rise in the number of burglaries and he produced recent crime statistics which he said contradicted "the erroneous picture painted in the local papers".

Richard Brunstrom

Detections of overall crime were up by 1043 last year with a detection rate of 27.9%.

Burglaries were on the rise but the detection rate was 19%, just short of a "challenging" target rate of 25% for the coming year.

Mr Brunstrom, who is also at the helm of the National Safety Camera Project, had been defending his force following reports that he was "obsessed" with pursuing speeding motorists.

He also denied pursuing drivers as a priority and said the force's Arrive Alive scheme was a nationally-driven and "cash neutral" project.

And, he said, the force did not earn any additional revenue from its Arrive Alive scheme.

It reclaimed 1.6m in expenditure as a result of fines from the year 2002/3, and only benefited by freeing up resources.

On Tuesday he launched a scathing attack against retired bank manager William Shaw, who was clocked driving his BMW at 39mph in a 30mph zone through the village of Acrefair, north Wales.

'Yobs who get drunk'

Mr Shaw, 71, pleaded guilty to speeding but accused North Wales Police of malpractice, claiming he had been overtaking a tractor at the time.

But Mr Brunstrom hit back, saying: "Speeding is a form of anti-social behaviour.

"Some people believe that term applies only to 17-year-old yobs who get drunk and cause a nuisance but it also applies to people like Mr Shaw, who see themselves as law-abiding citizens but then choose to break the law by speeding and risking the lives of other people."

Mr Shaw in turn claimed Mr Brunstrom was being "irrational and over-the-top" and should spend "more time catching criminals and less time harassing law-abiding citizens who unknowingly stray over the speed limit".

Demand for extra street police
06 Jun 03  |  North East Wales
Police attack speeding driver
29 Jul 03  |  Wales

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