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Monday, February 18, 2019

North Wales still safe place to live, says AM

An Assembly Member says North Wales still one of the safest places to live.

Speaking in a recent assembly debate on Wales’ Final Police Settlement for 2019/20, Shadow Minister for Communities and Local Government Mark Isherwood (pictured) referred to the increase in funding for police forces in Wales - up by 5.3% in North Wales.

He said the 7% council tax police precept increase in North Wales - or 38p per week for the average household - would enable the recruitment of 34 additional officers and six staff.
Mr Isherwood also spoke of the issues highlighted at last month’s North Wales Police briefing.
He said: “We heard that North Wales is still one of the safest places to live, that they were focussed on prevention, but that crime is evolving to cyber, child sexual exploitation , modern slavery and domestic violence. 

“They told us that they were having to detain too many people under the Mental Health Act because other agencies were not there for the people concerned and that ambulance availability and response times were resulting in them being used as the first point of triage, despite not being efficient paramedics.

“There is also continuing concern about the Welsh  Government’s handling of the Apprenticeship Levy, with Welsh Police Forces denied access to £2 million they contribute annually for training. 

“Despite receiving more Treasury net funding than previously for this, an extra £600,000 Home Office funding for Police Training in 2018/19 – and £400,000 promised for Police training, the Welsh Government still has missing cash from previous years contributions which should be addressing this gap.”   
He added: “The UK Government has, since 2015, raised its contribution to overall police funding in line with inflation, including specific areas such as cybercrime, counter-terrorism and tackling child sexual exploitation. 

“Prior to then, it also had to contend with £545m worth of cuts to the police inherited from Labour’s final budget in 2010, to be made by 2014."
Mr Isherwood added: “The latest ONS release on Crime in England and Wales states that over recent decades we’ve seen continued falls in overall levels of crime but in the last year there has been no change.
“As this states, the Crime Survey is the most reliable indicator for long-term trends and police recorded crime statistics do not always provide a reliable measure of levels and trends. There has been no change in commonly occurring types of violent crime. Although assault admissions increased, they were still 33% lower than in 2008.”

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