North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones has said Boris Johnson’s claim that Deeside will see an additional 62 police officers on the streets should be taken with an “extremely large pinch of salt.”
Mr Johnson made the claim while talking to reporters during an election campaign visit to the Deeside Industrial Estate HQ of Iceland Foods on Friday.
When questioned about policing Mr Johnson told reporters “It’s about having the right level of police out there and we are putting 20,000 more police officers out across the country.
“Just here in Deeside we will have another 62 straight aways [sic]. It is also about supporting those police officers.”
The claim, which went unchallenged, was later published both in print and online by the Flintshire Leader despite being ‘debunked’ at the time on social media by Arfon Jones.
62 across North Wales, but we have been increasing resources across the force annually before the uplift announcement. Replacing some of the £31 million lost in North Wales since 2010. #ToryAusterity
— Arfon Jones (@ArfonJ) November 8, 2019
North Wales will get an additional 62 police officers as part of plans announced by the UK Government in October but that is for the whole of the force region which covers ten local policing districts, Deeside is part of the North Flintshire district.
The Home Office published officer recruitment targets over the next three years for police forces in what it calls an “unprecedented drive” to increase officer ranks by 20,000 after years of dwindling numbers driven by austerity.
[Figures refer to the number of full time equivalent officers – or how many there would be if you added up all their hours to make full time roles – ]
According to David Hanson the Labour parliamentary candidate for Delyn and former police minister, 102 police officers have been cut in North Wales since 2010.
In fact on checking
– 102 officers have been slashed in North Wales since 2010.
– We have lost £28m central government funding since 2010-11
– Recorded crime has risen 120% between June 2013 to June 2018.
— David Hanson (@DavidHansonMP) November 8, 2019
Responding to Boris Johnson’s claim of 62 extra officers in Deeside, Arfon Jones said: “It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Prime Minister has made yet another misleading statement and it has now reached a point where everyone takes what he says with a pinch of salt.
“In this case where he is talking about policing in North Wales I would advise taking an extremely large pinch of salt because this statement is misleading in the extreme.
“The whole of North Wales is to get 62 police officers in the first year of the uplift in numbers announced recently by the Government and North Flintshire is just one of ten local policing districts in North Wales with operational deployment a matter for the Chief Constable.”
The UK government is providing £750 million to support forces to recruit up to 6,000 additional officers by the end of 2020-21, the first stage of the new 20,000 officer uplift.
Police forces in Wales will be able to recruit a total of 302 new officers, 62 of those will join North Wales Police, a 4.3 percent increase in officer numbers within the region.
Boris Johnson is no stranger when it comes to making contentious claims, he was behind the widely derided slogan plastered on the side of a bus that toured Britain during the Brexit referendum campaign claiming the UK sent £350 million a week to the EU.