THE Chief Constable of North Wales Police has warned that cuts to front line services could well be inevitable.
Speaking yesterday about force spending plans, Mark Polin said if the proposed cuts suggested by the coalition government were implemented there would be losses to frontline services.
“We will manage to meet the target of cuts of £1.4 million for this year, but the suggestion from David Cameron is that this could be increased to 40 per cent over the next four years. This would mean cuts of £30 million coming out of our budget.
“Eighty-two per cent of our money is spent on staff so even if we stopped using computers and walked everywhere we would have to cut staff numbers.
“It will be impossible as far as I can see to protect frontline services. I can’t guarantee there will be no cuts to the number of PCSOs.”
He added: “If we end up with less staff I will certainly have to question whether we need the same number of buildings.
“There is no point keeping the same number of police stations if we do not have the staff to operate them.
“We clearly want to maintain visibility as far as possible and I am looking at holding surgeries in supermarkets and sharing with other local authority buildings.”
Eight months into his new role, Mr Polin set out his vision for the future and said his priorities include improving the public’s perception of the police, cracking down on drug pushers and developing his predecessor’s work on cutting speeding.
Controversial previous holder of the post, Richard Brunstrom, was renowned for his campaigns against speeding and Mr Polin says he plans to continue this work, but also to improve ways of dealing with road casualties.
“Casualties on the roads have reduced, so whatever Mr Brunstrom was doing was working,” he said.
“What I don’t want to do is throw the baby out with the bath water but develop what has been done on speeding by also looking at road design and education about road safety.
“I want to develop speed enforcement in accident blackspots and take direct action where there’s a problem rather than broadly everywhere.”
Mr Polin also aims to improve the public’s trust in the police.
He added: “There was a perception that Mr Brunstrom had the focus on him as public front of force.
“I wasn’t here and don’t know what lay behind that but I don’t want the focus to be around me but around my staff and officers doing what they do.”
Cracking down on drugs in the region is also integral to Mr Polin’s vision for the force.
Unlike Mr Brunstrom, he says he has no intention of advocating the legalisation of drugs.
He added: “Our focus so far on drugs has been very successful. We are also going into schools and getting children to educate their younger peers about the dangers of drugs.”
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