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Last Updated: Friday, 8 August, 2003, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Brunstrom told to 'get a grip'
Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom
The chief constable of North Wales Police is under the spotlight again after coming under fire from a former high-ranking policeman.

Retired assistant chief constable Elfed Roberts has called for Richard Brunstrom to focus more on crime following recent reports he was "obsessed with catching speeding motorists".

Mr Roberts, who left the force in 2000, said: "It is time for Mr Brunstrom to suppress his natural inclination to court publicity and to get a grip."

He said burglary detection rates in rural north Wales were lower than in major cities and that he has been approached by serving officers who have concerns about how the force is being run.

The current rate of detection for burglary up to July of this year is 20% not 6% - this makes the force among the best in England and Wales
Current Assistant Chief Constable, Clive Wolfendale

Mr Brunstrom was forced to defend his force's record last week following newspaper reports he was more interested in catching speeding drivers than criminals.

He 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.

But Mr Roberts claims serving officers had complained to him that the force was obsessed with speeding motorists while "failing miserably to bring dishonest and threatening criminals to justice".

He said he was deeply saddened, after serving 30 years in north Wales, "to hear many serving and retired officers express deep shame at the decline in performance since Mr Brunstrom became chief constable".


He added he had to make a public statement because he felt so strongly about the position and that he had been asked to act by a number of retired and serving officers who felt extremely angry about the force being held up to ridicule nationally.

One tabloid newspaper attacked his reputation by pillorying him as possibly the 'worst policeman in Britain' and asking readers for their views.

Another paper ran a phone poll for readers asking them whether they believed Mr Brunstrom was doing a good job or not.

But North Wales Police's present Assistant Chief Constable Clive Wolfendale says that Mr Roberts' assertions is not borne out by the facts.

"The current rate of detection for burglary up to July of this year is 20% not 6% - this makes the force among the best in England and Wales," he said.

"We are not obsessed with speeding motorists but the fact is that in the late 1990s 513 people a year on average were killed on our roads, last year it was 359.

"That's what I call a success.

"Mr Roberts is clearly proud to have been an Assistant Chief Constable in north Wales and so am I.

"But the truth is his assertions are not borne out by the facts."

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