A crime tsar has warned the terror outrages in France have highlighted the increasing demands on the police at a time of austerity.
According to North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick CB QC, the massacre of 17 people in the French capital is an illustration of how quickly policing priorities can change.
Other challenges facing the police include child exploitation and the growing menace of cybercrime.
With cuts having to be made, North Wales Police has revealed place to deliver the savings of £4.3 million needed in 2014/15 and the £3.5 million needed in 2015/16.
Although a recent report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary concluded North Wales Police is on track to achieve its required savings, Mr Roddick warned there were tough times ahead and that that financial planning could be blown off course by events which created new and additional priorities.
Mr Roddick said “This last year, we have seen significant increases in terrorist related offences, child sexual exploitation and cyber-crime to mention some of the serious crimes which are becoming more frequent and which are adding significantly to the challenges confronting modern policing and to the financial pressure on the police service at a time when it is suffering severe cut-backs.
“The recent shooting of innocent members of the public and police officers at the offices of the Charlie Ebdo satirical magazine in Paris and the dreadful sieges which followed this are examples of the range of new and increasing demands on our police forces and how priorities can change so rapidly.
“Not so long ago, we also had the cold-blooded murder of a soldier, Lee Rigby, on the streets of London which also had to be dealt with by the police.
“The UK’s threat level is rated as ‘severe’ which means that an attack is rated highly likely by the security forces. Global terrorism is seamless. As MI5’s former director of counter terrorism said in a national newspaper, the ideologies which drive the terrorists are promoted in such a way that reaches into the heart of vulnerable communities, wherever they may be.
“In my Police and Crime PIan I state that my over-riding objective is security at home and safety in public places. This has never been more important than it is in the light of what is happening internationally at the moment.
“The Roman philosopher Cicero said many hundreds of years ago, `Let the security of the people be the highest law’. That statement has become the policing imperative of our time.”
Mr Roddick added: “The very recent examples of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, Cambridge and Bristol and the claims by Barnardos Wales and the Children’s Commissioner for England that this crime is prevalent puts it high on the list of priorities for the police.”
The Commissioner also cited the cyberattack on the Sony Pictures company in connection with the film The Interview in the United States and underlined his concern over under-pressure police forces having the resources to cope with these new demands
He said: “North Wales Police, in common with forces across the rest of the UK, have to respond to these new demands by reviewing policing priorities and by applying as much of their diminishing resources to them as they can.
“I am concerned that they are having to do so at a time when they are faced with making substantial cutbacks.”