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Changes to policing in Flintshire as North Wales Police budget cut

DESPITE cuts to North Wales Police’s budget, fewer jobs will be lost than was first thought.

Flintshire County Councillors met this week to hear outline plans for the future of policing in the county after the force received confirmation of its funding allocation from central Government.

About 121 of the 1,600 uniformed officers will be culled and the same number of civilian staff will go. The force currently employs 840.

The initial cut in funding works out at £24.6m, but a 4% rise in council tax precept, due to be set in February by the North Wales Police Authority, will soften the blow to £15m.

North Wales Police Authority, working with the force, is currently carrying out a consultation into proposals which could include losing one in 11 officers by 2015.

The body initially said as many as one in seven officers could lose their jobs.

About 160 police community support officer jobs have been saved after the Home Office confirmed it had ‘ring fenced’ funding for the roles for another two years.

North Wales Police had earlier admitted the cuts to front-line services are unavoidable, but the force is optimistic the enforced changes proposed will minimise the impact.

Chief Constable Mark Polin said it was all about ‘doing things differently’, including not sending out police officers to reports of low-level crime, reducing the number of policing districts from 15 to 10 and selling off police stations.

Flintshire may see its three policing districts reduced to two with the A55 acting as the dividing line. And a new ‘response hub’ may be created in Mold.

“It’s going to be challenging,” said Mr Polin. “Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary released figures which showed cuts over 12% will affect the front line and (in North Wales) it will be more than 12%.

“My job is to minimise that by doing things differently. For instance if someone phones to report a crime we send an officer and another member of staff to the incident.

“But for very low-level crime, such as a report of vehicle crime which happened several days earlier, we might not send out anyone.

“We need to make better use of the fewer resources that we have and manage the public’s expectations of the service that we provide.”