North Wales’s police boss is to present Wrexham with a war chest of £10,000 to combat an epidemic of arson attacks in the county.
The money is being handed over by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick QC CB who is determined to stamp out the blaze terror.
Wrexham is firestarter central for North Wales with almost half of all the region’s deliberate blazes – 47 per cent – occurring in the county last year.
Residents of Wrexham are almost three times more likely to be the victims of a deliberate fire than anywhere else in North Wales and levels of arson there are among the highest in England and Wales.
Among the main troublespots is Caia Park where firebugs have struck 55 times in the past year.
It is something Mr Roddick is determined to put a stop to but he ruled out a call for a £1,000 reward for the identification of the arsonists.
Instead he has found a far larger sum from a special fund for community safety initiatives.
The money will be given to Wrexham County Borough Council to allocate to the Local Partnership Delivery Board responsible for public safety and inclusion.
Mr Roddick said: “This is a pernicious problem in Wrexham and It will be up to the Board, the people on the ground to come up with an action plan to be agreed by me to stop this menace.
“We need to be spelling out what we are doing with the money because this problem has been going on for a very long time.
“We need to involve the people of Wrexham in the solution because together we can end this. The public are the police and the police are the public.
“I am making this money available because it wouldn’t be an appropriate use of public money to offer a reward and a single conviction would not go anywhere near solving this problem.
“The highly exceptional circumstances present in this case justifies me making this substantial financial contribution to the resolution of the problem.
“The main purpose of my contribution is to involve the community in the resolution of the problem.
“My aim is to adopt a much more fundamental approach involving all the people working together over time to root this out because working in effective partnership is ever more important and has a high priority in my revised police and crime plan.
“Working in partnership enables responses to be more effective and lasting in their benefit to the community than they otherwise would be and is vital in delivering my other three priorities, preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, delivering an effective response and reducing harm and the risk of harm.”
Councillor Hugh Jones, Wrexham County Borough Council’s Lead Member for Community Safety, has welcomed the Police Commissioner’s action.
He said: “Having worked in partnership with the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to identify the most effective way of tackling the problem of arson, this is a very positive move by the Commissioner and is an excellent award for the county.
“Unfortunately Wrexham has become a hotspot for arson attacks, the worst in North Wales, and this initiative is very important in having a beneficial outcome and should be welcomed.”