Page last updated at 11:21 GMT, Monday, 15 June 2009 12:21 UK

'Hypocrisy' over police cutbacks

Roath police station
Roath is one of four police stations earmarked for closure in Cardiff

The secretary of South Wales Police Federation has accused politicians of hypocrisy over criticism of a decision to close inner-city police stations.

South Wales Police announced it was shutting the four stations in Cardiff as part of savings to meet a £6.7m shortfall in their budget.

Wayne Baker said the same politicians who were complaining had voted against an increase in the police precept.

He was speaking on the BBC Radio Wales programme Eye on Wales.

Staff from the stations will be based at a new station in Cardiff Bay.

The £16m building is due to open this autumn, and will have 60 cells. Canton, Roath, Cathays and Grangetown stations will close.

Mr Baker, a police constable who works full-time as a representative for the Police Federation, said: "Politicians who voted against the precept, or who voted against a change in the funding formula for Welsh police forces are now complaining we're having to close police stations and merge basic command units.

"I think they're behaving hypocritically. You can't have your cake and eat it.

"They have to understand that if they want a certain level of policing, they have to pay for it. If that's done by putting two pence a day on a 'D' band council property, well so be it."

Jonathan Morgan, Cardiff North AM, described the closure of the police stations was a "retrograde step".

He told BBC Radio Wales: "South Wales Police has a problem with their budget.

"We know they've had a difficulty setting their precept; we know that the home office does not provide sufficient levels of funding; and we know that the assembly government don't recognise their element of responsibility for policing in Wales.

"We need to tackle all of that, otherwise South Wales Police will carry on selling off the family silver in order to pay for frontline policing."

Mothball

Barbara Wilding, South Wales Police's chief constable said the four closing station were not fit for modern-day policing.

Speaking about the new facility, she added: "It's a huge cell complex, 60 cells, fantastic working conditions for our staff, and it will enable us to look at some of the smaller units which…people are having to work out.

"By September or October, we'll be able to move those staff into superb accommodation."

The force is now considering whether to mothball the four stations or sell them off.

Ms Wilding also said the Home Office was to consider a report calling for special funding for South Wales Police in recognition of its responsibility for policing the capital.

The Metropolitan Police in London and Lothian and Borders Police in Edinburgh already receive additional funding.

South Wales Police will also start charging organisers of major events the full costs for policing from this August.

Eye on Wales is broadcast on Radio Wales at 1830 BST on Monday.



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