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Wales: PCs taken off beat to man control room.

Byline: By ERYL CRUMP

TEN North Wales police constables were taken off the beat to deal with calls at a new control room.

Police Federation spokesman Richard Eccles last night voiced concern about the speed of the move and the lack of consultation.

A force insider claimed senior officers drafted in the constables after a lengthy and drawn-out process to appoint civilians to handle the thousands of calls made to police each day.

But a North Wales Police spokeswoman insisted the recruitment process was "ongoing" and stressed it was not unusual for police constables to work in the control room.

North Wales Police decided to centralise the three divisional control rooms on one site two years ago.

Calls to controls rooms in Caernarfon, Colwyn Bay and Wrexham are now handled from one base at Crud y Dderwen.

Last night the source said: "The human resources department interviewed 30 external candidates for posts at the Force Occurrence Recording Bureau (FORB) as the control room at Crud y Dderwen, St Asaph, is called in police circles.

"Interviews, assessments and other tests were carried out in April but as far as I know none of those interviewed have been offered jobs and the police constables have been drafted in to do the work."

Mr Eccles confirmed 10 constables had been drafted in to deal with calls at the new centre.

He told the Daily Post: "We are concerned about the speed this took place and that it was done without consultation.

"There are also concerns the decision takes 10 police constables off the visible front line."

But the force spokeswoman said: "Police constables do get posted to anywhere in the force area and the Operational Communications Department (OCD) is no exception as it is an operational posting.

"The OCD have a dedicated team of staff, both police officers and police staff, which provide a first class service to North Wales."

Chairman of the North Wales Police Authority Councillor Ian Roberts said: "We are aware of the situation and we are confident that this is the best way to proceed in terms of maintaining the integrity of our links with the public in the short term."

The new base became fully operational earlier this year.

At its opening, North Wales police said the building was constructed to its requirements and took into account "increased projected demand and future challenges facing the force and the public of North Wales".

erylcrump@dailypost.co.u

There are also concerns the decision takes 10 police constables off the visible front line

Richard Eccles

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The North Wales Police base in St Asaph which houses the control room
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 10, 2006
Words:440
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