South West Wales

Two Welsh police forces freeze new officer intake

Newly qualified police officers at the Peel Centre in Hendon, north London take part in a passing out parade.
Image caption One report has warned of cuts of up to 60,000 police and civilian staff in England and Wales

Some police forces in Wales have stopped recruiting new officers over budget cut fears prompting concern over rising crime levels.

North Wales Police has a freeze on all jobs while Dyfed-Powys has suspended its next intake of officers.

South Wales Police is filling officer vacancies but has frozen civilian posts and is monitoring the situation.

Meanwhile Gwent Police is still hiring but plans to review if any announcements on funding are made.

The chief constable of Dyfed-Powys said there was "an obvious risk" cuts could lead to a rise in crime.

North Wales Police said it introduced a freeze on both officer and civilian recruitment in April and it would remain in place until at least the end of the financial year.

Dyfed-Powys has suspended its next intake of officers which was due to take place in September, pending the outcome of the UK government's Comprehensive Spending Review.

In a statement issued to coincide with the latest Home Office performance figures Chief Constable Ian Arundale said tough times lay ahead.

While welcoming a drop in crime levels and an overall detection rate higher than anywhere else in England and Wales he urged caution about future expectations of the force.

"The coming years herald a period of unprecedented budget cuts for public services and the police service is far from immune to these," he said.

"The pressure on the economy will have an impact on families across Wales and Dyfed-Powys will not be exempt.

"There is an obvious risk that this could lead to an increase in crime both nationally and locally.

"Add to this the fact that we will almost inevitably have to face the reality of taking tough decisions around our numbers of staff over the next three to four years and the challenge that we face is self evident."

Umar Hussain, finance director for South Wales Police, said the force was continuing to recruit officers to fill vacancies with an intake due in August and September.

"There is, however, a moratorium on police staff posts to help plan for the impending budget cuts announcement due in October 2010," he added.

"We are carefully monitoring the situation and will need to make further judgements once the extent of cuts are known."

A report for the Police Review magazine has warned of a "worst case scenario" of cuts leading to 60,000 fewer police officer and civilian posts in England and Wales by 2015.

But the government said while police forces would have to make savings, the exact figures would not be known until the end of the year, following its spending review.

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