North Wales Police survey: MP's 'second tier' victim fear

Almost one in three North Wales Police officers and civilian staff believe some victims of crime deserve a better service than others.

More than one in five think some communities do little to earn police respect, and one in four believe helping some people is a waste of time.

Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd called the findings disturbing and said there was a danger of "second tier citizens".

The police authority said it encouraged honesty amongst the workforce.

The findings from a staff survey have been revealed after a request under Freedom of Information Act (FOI).

More than 1,000 officers and 700 staff responded to the survey, which examined opinions towards the public, the force and job satisfaction.

Findings included:

  • 30.5% believe some "victims of crime are more deserving of a good service than others".
  • 22.6% agreed that "there are certain communities that do little to deserve the respect of the police".
  • 25.7% agreed with the statement: "It's a waste of time trying to help some people".
  • 78.3% believed that North Wales Police "is a good organisation to work for".

Mr Llwyd, MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd and deputy chair of the justice select committee, said the survey backed claims by some people who say they had gone to the police with an issue but believed it was pointless.

It was "awful" that some officers said some communities did not respect police, and it was a waste of time helping them, he added.

"I hope that these findings will be taken on board by senior managers to ensure training of police officers in north Wales reflects that everybody that comes to them, obviously in need, should be dealt with accordingly."

"I'm sure it will be addressed, but it does need need to be looked at urgently, because otherwise we've got a first and second tier citizen in north Wales, and that will never be right," he added.

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Media captionA survey of North Wales police officers and staff found that nearly a third of them think some victims of crime deserve a better service than others.

Nia Evans, vice-chair of the North Wales Police Authority, said: "Last year's cultural survey was undertaken at a time of significant challenge for our workforce, and since then we have implemented actions to support our staff and officers.

"The authority has consistently reviewed progress made by the force and we look forward to seeing the results of the latest survey at the end of this year."

Richard Eccles, from the North Wales Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said: "If you as an officer have been called to a drunken squabble at the same address for the third time in a week, you are going to take a different view to a first call to meet an old person who had just had their property broken into.

'Out of touch'

"That is what we have tried to make clear to the police authority."

Other survey results showed:

  • 51.4% of those questioned agreed that "different parts of this organisation don't tend to work well together"
  • 45.5% felt that "senior managers are out of touch with what's happening on the front line".

Mr Eccles said views on issues such as front line police and leadership reflected changes in the way the force was run.

However, he stressed that this was not a negative for the force, and sometimes senior managers in the force could not win.

He said he believed senior managers listened, but added: "The difficulty sometimes is getting something done about it."

He also said it was sometimes "fashionable" to "knock senior officers".

Deputy chief constable Ian Shannon said the survey helped the force gain "a better understanding of our workforce and our organisational culture," and the results are used to address any issues.

He said: "There was an excellent response to last year's survey, the results of which have been in the public domain for a considerable time, and a number of actions were put in place as a result of issues raised.

"The organisation and our operating environment have shifted again since then and it will be interesting to see the results of the latest survey.

"We strive to be an organisation which is as open and transparent as possible and within which all our staff support each other in providing the best service possible to the public."

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