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Police 'still carry stigma for purge on speeders'.

Byline: GARETH WILLIAMS Local Democracy Reporter garethwyn.williams@reachplc.com

A CHIEF Inspector believes that North Wales Police continues to carry the "stigma," over a decade after it was accused of "waging war on motorists."

Richard Brunstrom was Chief Constable of North Wales Police between 2001 and 2009. During his tenure he admitted to being "obsessed" with tackling speeding motorists and officers were later found hiding in horse boxes to catch such offenders. But during a meeting on Monday, responding to a comment that many constituents were of the opinion that police were "only interested in catching motorists doing 32 in a 30mph zone", Gwynedd's county Chief Inspector vehemently disagreed. Chief Insp Mark Armstrong told the meeting of Gwynedd's Dwyfor Area Committee: "I recently spent a week in Warwickshire and saw many more speed cameras there than there are in north Wales, almost two in every village.

"We seem to still have this stigma from Richard Brunstrom and the days that people believed we were targeting speed like it was going out of fashion.

"Yes there are still vans out and about and an operative of a van on the Felinheli bypass recently told me that between 6am and 7am one morning he caught 40 people with the highest speed recorded at 89mph.

"But we don't police speed anything like we used to 10 years ago or before that, yet we still get the old "police only catch speeders."

"You will rarely see a police officer standing out with a speed camera as we simply don't have the time to do that nowadays with so many complex mental health and welfare needs to deal with.

Meanwhile, councillors were also told that government pledge would result in an extra 200 police officers on the streets of north Wales over the coming years.

On his first day as Prime Minister in late July, Boris Johnson vowed to recruit an extra 20,000 officers over the next three years.

Estimated to cost 1bn, nationwide recruitment is set to start this month despite claims from opposition parties that a similar number of officers have been lost since the Conservatives took office in 2010.

But councillors were told on Monday that the move would see an extra 200 officers in North Wales, many of which would be deployed in more rural areas.

Inspector Matt Geddes, addressing the meeting in Pwllheli, admitted that officers had experienced a "difficult" summer having touched minimum staffing levels at various points in the south Gwynedd area.

"On a staffing note I'm fairly confident, moving into the new year we will have far more resilience.

"Obviously there are moves in Westminster to support that, we're not exactly sure how that will look locally at the moment but there's certainly an appetite by chief officers to look at the issues that we faced this summer and ensure there isn't a repeat of that."

He added: "Of the 20,000 officers that he (Boris Johnson) has promised, North Wales Police is probably looking at 200, which on top of our normal strength is a massive increase over a three year period.

"The chief is really keen to have more of an impact on rural policing, areas like Dwyfor and Meirionnydd and rural Conwy, so there's more visible policing.

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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 11, 2019
Words:545
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