News that North Wales Police are aiming to recruit up to 20 officers in South Gwynedd has been given the thumbs up.
According to Ann Griffith, the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, taking on the officers was a very positive move.
North Wales Police had originally struggled to attract enough applicants wanting to work in the area.
One of the main problems for people living locally was that they would have to commute daily to St Asaph for the duration of the six-month training course.
For some it would have involved a two-hour journey each way.
Now, the force has come up with a solution by locating the course at the police station in Dolgellau.
As a result, they received “more than expected” applications from aspiring police officers.
The course starts next March and the successful candidates will start on the beat in the September.
Sergeant Iwan Lloyd Jones, who’s based in Blaenau Ffestiniog, helped with the recruitment drive.
He said: “We’d never done anything like this before. Until now all of the training has been done centrally, either in HQ, or St Asaph, or prior to that in the regional training centres in Warrington and Cwmbran.
“So this was a new and quite a bold move for North Wales Police to relocate the training of new officers within one of the districts.
“A lot of my work recently has been to promote this, to try to drum up support and to advertise the fact that we are recruiting to people that may not have considered it as a career before, or people who have considered it as a career, wanted to do it, but were put off by the travelling.
“It has been a success. We’ve had more applicants than we were expecting. So the work is now ongoing to sift through the applications and grade and mark the forms.
“We set out to get at least 200 applicants so that we can whittle them down and then take 18 to 20 officers, and I’m confident that we’ve got the numbers to do that.
“Although we were targeting people within the Gwynedd South district we couldn’t make the recruitment process any easier. It’s a national process and we had to maintain that standard.
“Recruitment is an ongoing cycle. Obviously people retire, people move on, people are promoted and it leaves a gap which we are plugging.
“Having the guarantee that the next intake of recruits will all be based within the Gwynedd South district is providing reassurance for the community because we know that we are able to maintain those numbers.
After being briefed by Sgt Jones, Ann Griffith said: “I am very pleased that North Wales Police is recruiting in South Gwynedd.
“It’s been a problem that people haven’t been coming forward for various reasons and it’s very, very encouraging now that the police have been proactive in their attempt to recruit.
“I sincerely hope that Welsh speaking men and women will have been attracted by this recruitment campaign
“The fact that they’re actually going to be training in Dolgellau is going to make it so much more possible for people who perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise put their names forward.
“I think whereas before, people in South Gwynedd might have turned to the Dyfed Powys Police for example, if they lived down towards Towyn and Aberdyfi area, they will now be more tempted to come and work for North Wales Police.
“It shows the commitment that the Commissioner Arfon Jones has in the policing of North Wales in general and in South Gwynedd in particular.”