North Wales’s new policing chief bumped into a familiar face when he spent a day on the beat in Wrexham.
Andy Dunbobbin, the recently-elected Police and Crime Commissioner, was on a fact-finding tour of the streets of the region’s biggest town when he met newly-appointed Sergeant David Smith who has been leading the local Neighbourhood Policing Team.
The two are no strangers to each other as Sergeant Smith was himself a Police Community Support Officer in his home town of Connah’s Quay 12 years ago when Mr Dunbobbin was a community councillor there.
The Commissioner said: “It has been good to meet up again and to go out on patrol with Sergeant Smith and to see how well known he is within the community here.
“Shopkeepers and other members of the public clearly know him and are happy to engage with him and that relationship remains at the core of policing.
“A presence on the streets remains important because it’s all about getting that intel from liaising with the public to build a picture of what’s going on to enable us to deploy officers more effectively.
“That two-way traffic is very important especially now as we come out of lockdown and people are out and about more and more and also because of mental health issues caused by the pandemic restrictions.”
Mr Dunbobbin has also promised to ensure that North Wales gets its fair share of the 100 extra PCSOs announced for Wales by the Welsh Government, bringing the national total up to 600.
He said: “I know from past experience how important the role of PCSO is in support of the police force and I will be making sure we in North Wales get our fair share of the new uplift.
“I also have particular concerns about the replacement of officers who are retiring and suffering from ill-health which may have been missed out and I’ll be looking at what can be done to replace them.
Sergeant Smith, who joined North Wales Police 12 years ago, said: “The night-time economy is opening up now and there is a greater demand on resources with more people coming into the town centre.
“That brings with it a variety of different incidents which we have to deal with and while we want people to have a good time and enjoy themselves because of the difficulties caused by lockdown, we do want them to behave responsibly.
“We are now finding that officers are being assaulted which is not acceptable but the Commissioner is very welcome here and I do appreciate him coming out on foot patrol with me.
“I remember him well from the time I was a PCSO myself before joining the Force and he was a community councillor in Connah’s Quay.
“The news about the PCSOs is good because they help extend our connection with the community and that visibility is still important as we couldn’t operate without the support of the public.”
For more information on the work of the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner go to https://www.northwales-pcc.gov.uk/en/home.aspx