A police boss has hit out an “injustice” which he fears could see the North Wales force paying more than £430,000 into a training fund and getting nothing in return.

According to North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones, the new Apprenticeship Levy will put officers in Wales at a disadvantage compared to their counterparts in England when it comes to vital training.

Mr Jones is so concerned that he’s written a letter to Home Secretary Amber Rudd pointing out that, while the North Wales force will have to pay £432,000 a year to the UK Treasury,   the present rules make it unlikely that any of the cash can be spent on training its officers.

The UK Government has agreed a funding deal for the forthcoming levy for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland under which each of the devolved governments will receive a share of the money paid in based on their population.

The Welsh Government is due to get back a total of almost £400,000,000 over the next three years.

But Mr Jones says that because the Welsh Government is not responsible for policing there’s a big question mark over whether any of the money paid in by Welsh police forces, including North Wales, can be spent on officer training.

He said: “The new Apprenticeship Levy is being introduced from April next year and is payable by all employers operating in the UK with an annual bill over £3 million.

“My office estimates that the levy will cost North Wales Police £432,000 a year. However, because policing is not a devolved matter in Wales and remains a responsibility of the UK Government it currently appears unlikely that the Welsh Government will be able to spend this money on training police officers.

“In contrast, in England, each employer – including police forces and police and crime commissioners – will have access to a training fund proportional to the amount of  levy they pay. That means they will be able to use the money for accredited training, including for police officers.”

The Commissioner added: “To me this seems like an injustice as far as all the Welsh police forces are concerned and is why I have written to the Home Secretary to make the situation clear.

“It’s also the case that while in England employers will be given credits to fund approved training for their employees and apprentices, in Wales the funding will be paid directly to further education establishments but with no guarantee that that courses appropriate to our officers and employees will be available.

“Under a new process of professionalisation the College of Policing in England is proposing that new officers will work towards an honours degree qualification and English forces will be able to fund this through the Apprenticeship Levy at no additional cost to themselves.

“I have spoken to higher education institutions in North Wales and it remains unclear whether they will be able to provide an equivalent course.

“Whilst I and North Wales Police fully support the professionalisation programme I fear that without access to levy funds Welsh forces, who between them will be paying in around £2 million a year, may be faced with the possibility of accepting a lesser – or even no – qualification, or paying a second time to have officers trained, with consequent cuts elsewhere to fund this.

“It is foreseeable that Welsh officers would be at a disadvantage compared to their English colleagues, both in their ability to rise within the ranks of their original force and also in transferring between forces.

“I have stressed to the Home Secretary that access to the Apprenticeship Levy fund is vital if we are to ensure that our new officers are equipped to deliver the highest possible level of service to the public in Wales.”

Kate Jackson, the North Wales PCC’s Chief Finance Officer, is also concerned about the situation.

She said: “North Wales Police, in common with all the other forces in Wales, will be paying a considerable amount of money equivalent to 0.5 per cent of its payroll cost to the UK Treasury from next April.

“Although a proportion of this sum, which in our case is £432,000, will be returned to the Welsh Government, at the moment it seems none can be spent on policing because this is not a devolved matter.

“The crucial issue is that while North Wales Police has to pay this levy, which is intended for training, it looks very much like it won’t be able to receive any training in return.”