A former top cop has inspired a new generation of would-be bobbies.
Julian Sandham, the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, was a guest lecturer for police studies students at Coleg Llandrillo in Rhos on Sea.
An ex-Chief Superintendent, Mr Sandham, helped the students get to grips with issues such as modern slavery, domestic violence and child sexual exploitation as they put together their own alternative version of the North Wales Police Crime Plan.
The task was part of a Foundation Degree in Police Studies for the 12 second year students.
Mr Sandham explained the process and how the North Wales Police and Crime Panel made what were often difficult decisions.
Coleg Llandrillo Police Studies lecturer Dewi Roberts, himself a retired North Wales Police inspector, says having Mr Sandham visit the college and answering questions from students had been invaluable.
He said: “All 12 of our second year students are hoping to forge a career in the Police or Probation Service or the Border Agency. And we have a further 17 year one students and, potentially, a new intake of 25 new students in September.
“All six lecturers connected with the course are retired North Wales police officers with more than 170 years of combined policing experience between them at sergeant level or above.
“Having someone of Mr Sandham’s experience come in and answer some very searching questions in relation to policing and his role as Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner is invaluable.”
He added: “Following the two sessions with the Deputy Commissioner, they will prepare and write their own Police Crime Plan which they will then present to Mr Sandham and a panel of senior police officers.”
Mr Sandham retired as a Chief Superintendent from North Wales Police in 2011 after 33 years of service having started out as a uniformed constable in Bangor.
He said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the Coleg Llandrillo students who have real energy and a level of enquiry that is impressive.
“The first session I did with them was to explain how we produced our Police and Crime Plan, how we would use the available budget and how we envisaged officers deployed to counter the issues facing a modern police service.
“The second session looked at how we marketed the plan and informed the public what we were doing and what we are trying to achieve. It’s vitally important to get that message across.”
Mr Sandham says North Wales Police, and other forces, face new challenges especially in relation to so-called hidden crimes.
He said: “Policing has evolved and roles have changed. For example, cybercrime has led to a change of focus – I observed some training for officers dealing with cybercrime recently and it was very impressive.
“Crimes such as child sexual exploitation have become more prevalent thanks to the internet. Social media and the World Wide Web, for example, means there are many other crimes that require police attention and action.
“We have to look at how we deal with these issues and how we finance it. We now have to prioritise in a very different and more progressive way. We have the police precept but that money has to go a very long way.
“The Chief Constable says he can deliver an effective police service that is also able to deal with those ‘hidden’ crimes. However, how we manage manpower and finances is vital to our success.”
Student, Phil Acott, 31, a Special Constable from Connah’s Quay, says he will be applying to join North Wales Police as a regular officer once he completes his Foundation Degree in Policing Studies in June.
He said: “Mr Sandham coming in to talk to us has been excellent and really helpful. His input has been invaluable and has made the task of writing our own Police and Crime Plan much easier than it otherwise would have been.
“It’s really relevant to the job and helps us realise what we will be dealing with out there in the real world. Mr Sandham has so much experience in policing and has helped me understand the decisions that need to be taken when thinking about an effective Police and Crime Plan.”
Shannon Walsh, 20, of Prestatyn, also hopes to apply to join North Wales Police.
She said: “It’s been really interesting and Mr Sandham’s input has been an inspiration. It’s given me a better insight into policing having had the opportunity to listen to him talk of his experience as well as having the benefit of listening to other senior police officers.
“The Foundation Degree course at Coleg Llandrillo has been excellent and really given me an insight into policing.”
Angharad Roberts, 20, of Denbigh, has already applied to North Wales Police for roles as a regular constable and also as a police and community support officer.
She said: “It’s been great having outside speakers come in and Mr Sandham’s talk has been excellent.
“It has certainly made me think of the challenges facing police officers and how senior officers have to plan and budget in order to deliver an effective service.”