N.Wales Force 'Too Small in Terror War; Mergers Urged to Beat Gangs and Extremism
Byline: By MARK HOOKHAM Parliamentary Correspondent
NORTH Wales Police was too small to cope with the future threats of terrorism, extremism and organised crime, the home secretary was warned yesterday.
The force could now be merged with other Welsh constabularies to create a so-called "strategic force" stretching from Cardiff to Llandudno. A report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) released yesterday states forces with fewer than 4,000 officers or 6,000 staff in total tended to fail to meet the standards expected in protecting the public.
With 1,676 officers and 2,543 staff in total, North Wales Police falls below both HMIC benchmarks.
Likewise, Dyfed-Powys, with only 1,183 officers and 1,714 staff in total, is also in line to be radically shaken up.
Gwent Police has 1,438 officers and 2,126 staff in total while South Wales Police has 3,316 officers and a total payroll of 4,826. Home secretary Charles Clarke will discuss the impact of the findings with the country's 43 chief constables, including North Wales' Richard Brunstrom, at a meeting in London on Monday.
A North Wales Police spokeswoman said: "We are not commenting on the report until after Monday's meeting."
The expected overhaul will be the biggest since 1974, slashing the number of forces from 43 to fewer than 30.
The Police Superintendents' Association (PSA) urged the Government to go even further by creating a national police force.
The five options set out in the report were STRATEGIC FORCES - Forces "regrouped" so they "exceed critical mass", but this proposal could be perceived as the most disruptive and least "locally friendly"FEDERAL" STRUCTURE - A "federation" of sub-standard forces would draw up their own plans to set up a number of central units to improve weak areas of policing. …