North Wales Police Authority backs shake-up

image captionThere have been concerns at plans to develop response 'hubs' where officers report for duty

Proposed changes to the way north Wales is policed have been backed by the area's police authority.

Concerns had been voiced that one change in the way some officers report for duty - the so-called "hubs" - would mean slower 999 response times.

The public and local councils had four months to tell the authority what they thought of the plans.

North Wales Police expect that the new management structure will be running from 4 May.

The hubs would involve officers signing on for duty at specific locations across the region.

Some concerns had been raised that the changes would take police from busy places such as Bangor, and the Lleyn peninsula during the summer.

The background to the changes is the need to deliver "a top quality, effective service in the face of a £24m cut in government grant over the next four years".

"The consultation exercise has been extremely useful and we are grateful to everyone who has contributed to this important process," said Alun Lewis, the chairman of the North Wales Police Authority.

'Examined feedback'

"We have examined all the feedback and taken it into consideration.

"The response from the public has been clear that they do not want to see a reduction in the services they receive at present, but given the difficult financial situation no change is not an option," he added.

Mr Lewis said the authority had been "obliged" to make the changes as a result of the UK government's Spending Review announced last October, and it will mean an increase in council tax.

He said that based on this, and the fact the public wanted frontline services to be a priority, there had been an agreement to increase the council tax precept by 4% next year, and "to plan on the basis of similar increases in future years".

North Wales Police deputy chief constable Ian Shannon said the changes were a result of "detailed reviews of our business which will reduce cost while minimising the impact on front line services".

"We understand public expectations and we are implementing these changes to enable us to continue to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, protect the public and maintain confidence in the service we deliver to the people of North Wales," he added.

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