A police boss is beefing up frontline policing in North Wales with 82 new officers, 10 extra PCSOs and more than 40 additional police staff.
The pledge from North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin came after his funding plans for the coming year were unanimously signed off by a watchdog body.
His proposal for a 22p a week increase in the price of policing the region was given the go-ahead by the North Wales Police and Crime Pane.
The 3.68 per cent rise will cost Band D householders an extra £11.25 year – around the price of two portions of fish and chips.
According to Mr Dunbobbin, it will pay for a raft of new measures including an increase in drug driving tests to improve road safety and save lives, which is one of the commissioner’s strategic priorities.
Other initiatives include ramping up the fight against child abuse, domestic abuse and cybercrime.
Mr Dunbobbin says he is also delivering on a promise in his election manifesto to put more bobbies on the beat.
The force’s pioneering drone unit, which has saved three lives since it was founded last April, will be expanded with two additional pilots.
A further 10 officers and police staff will be dedicated to working with perpetrators of domestic abuse to change their behaviour with the aim of reducing re-offending, as well as bringing offenders to justice and safeguarding victims.
At the same time, he says, safeguarding victims will be central to the force’s approach and a new panel will be established so that the voices of victims can be heard.
The commissioner believes that bolstering Neighbourhood Policing Teams will help provide reassurances for all communities of North Wales, and in particular our elderly and vulnerable.
Meanwhile, he is strengthening the Economic Crime Unit with three more officers to help stem the rising tide of cybercrime, including online fraud.
Mr Dunbobbin said: “I am grateful to the North Wales Police and Crime Panel for their support for my proposals.
“I have worked closely with the Chief Constable and his senior team to draw up the measures which will now be enshrined in my Police and Crime Plan which sets out the blueprint for policing North Wales.
“I will be scrutinising the force to ensure that the plan is implemented in full and I take my responsibilities very seriously in this regard.
“There will be a renewed focus on road safety because far too many people are dying or being seriously injured on our highways.
“That’s why there will be an increased use of roadside drug testing because if you drive under the influence of drugs it’s an accident waiting to happen.
“In addition to robust enforcement, there will be a campaign to educate and raise awareness among road users.
“Roads policing also has an important role in cracking down on serious and organised crime as we step up our fight against the vicious County Lines drugs gangs.
“We will also be increasing the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras which are a highly effective way of identifying cross border criminals and other lawbreakers.
“As somebody who has a background in the IT industry, I am also pushing hard for the increased use of technology in a number of areas.
“As well as saving lives, expanding the drone unit will support policing operations and crime prevention initiatives particularly for communities in rural areas.
“We will also be establishing a dedicated digital contact team to broaden the available ways that people can use to get in touch with North Wales Police.
“Cybercrime is growing at an alarming rate across the world and we have seen a 50 per cent increase in its prevalence in recent times.
“As a result, I am providing funding for three extra officers to join our successful Economic Crime Unit so we can tackle this growing menace in all its forms.
“The crackdown on cybercrime will include tackling child sexual exploitation, targeting grooming offences, and online scams.
“I am also passionate about the importance of good, old fashioned neighbourhood policing which is the bedrock of North Wales Police.
“Ensuring our officers are out and about providing a visible presence in our communities is particularly reassuring for elderly and vulnerable people.
“As well as nipping any minor issues in the bud, they are also the source of valuable intelligence as we tackle more serious criminality.
“That’s why I am investing in recruiting an extra 10 Police and Community Support Officers, building on the investment of the Welsh Government in paying for an additional 20 PCSOs across North Wales.
“Having more bobbies on the beat will increase opportunities to gather intelligence and combat hidden crimes such as modern-day slavery.
“I believe the 22p a week increase represents great value for money and it’s designed to strike the right balance between financial prudence and making North Wales an even safer place for the people who live and work here and visit the region.”