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North Wales Police claimed 18 years worth of overtime in 12 months

POLICE officers in North Wales claimed the equivalent of 18 years in overtime in 12 months, according to new figures.

And the statistics have prompted fears that the force will struggle to cope with the cutbacks set to be made by the coalition Government.

In 2009 a total of 156,299 hours were claimed in overtime by sergeants and constables working for North Wales Police.

The force is set to cut its budget by £15m to cope with Government spending cuts.

Plaid Cymru AM Chris Franks, who submitted a Freedom of Information request to obtain the figures, said: “The Tories like to position themselves as the party of law and order, but their cutbacks will decimate the budgets of police forces throughout England and Wales.

“There is bound to be a level of overtime within every police force due to the need to cover sick leave or any other type of absences, but the figures I obtained suggest many of the police forces in Wales are working flat out with very little slack.

“The huge savings that will be forced upon our constabularies will probably mean job losses or, at the very least, a recruitment freeze.

“That will inevitably mean less staff, doing more work, yet the overtime figures across the four Welsh police forces suggest they are already working to capacity.

“The Con-Dems need to think very carefully about the implications of what they are doing.

“Police forces need to have enough resources to be able to deal with major incidents and my worry is that forces will be ill-equipped to deal with large emergencies due to the major cutbacks that are coming their way.”