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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 September, 2004, 05:59 GMT 06:59 UK
Police in new speed camera row
Richard Brunstrom
Authority members and police are too close, it is claimed
The body which regulates North Wales Police has been criticised by two former officers.

The allegations have been made in a BBC Radio 4 programme about changes to the way police forces are run.

One of them accused North Wales Police Authority of taking chief constable Richard Brunstrom's side against the public over the force's controversial speed camera campaign, Arrive Alive.

But the authority described the comments as out of touch.

The authority, which calls itself 'the bridge between community and force", aims to ensure that North Wales Police is doing its job satisfactorily.

It also sets the budget, and decides how much people should pay in council tax towards the running of the police.

I don't think it's an issue of being too close to the police. I think it's probably an issue of being insufficiently close to the public
Richard Brunstrom

But former officer Phil Edwards, who is now a town councillor in Colwyn Bay, told Radio 4 the authority is too close to the police over its anti-speeding campaign.

"The public seem to be on one side of the argument - the police authority and the chief constable are on the other side," he said.

"That's not good for democracy, it's not good for policing, it's not good for the public."

In response, the authority said Mr Edwards was out of touch as most people in the force area supported Arrive Alive.

Policewoman (generic)
Authority members and police are too close, it is claimed
The chairman of the authority, Malcolm King, also added that just because the authority agreed with Mr Brunstrom on one particular issue did not mean that it was "in his pocket".

Elfed Roberts, who retired as the force's assistant chief constable in 2000, also claimed that police and authority members are now too close.

He said: "I think that's a real problem actually.

"If anyone outside questions or begins to criticise the chief officer or the force, what you very quickly find is that the police authority rally round."

But Mr King responded by saying that although there may have been a time when the authority agreed with the chief constable, things had changed.

He said it had become a lot better at questioning him and the rest of the force in recent years.

Mr Brunstrom added: "I don't think it's an issue of being too close to the police.

"I think it's probably an issue of being insufficiently close to the public."


SEE ALSO:
Warning to 'born again bikers'
26 Apr 04  |  North West Wales
Brunstrom: Road to controversy
05 Feb 04  |  Wales


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