Law and order is a matter for the UK Home Office, but Welsh Government minister Carl Sargeant is responsible for community safety here in Wales. This was his reaction:
Wales Office minister David Jones has acknowledged that Welsh police forces are facing 'particular challenges' as a result of spending cuts. But he says today's HMIC report shows the forces are 'rising' to those challenges whilst protecting frontline policing. Here's his full statemetn:
This report makes it clear that the frontline of policing is being protected overall and, while we understand that there are particular challenges ahead, our police forces in Wales are rising to it.
By the spring of 2012, three out of the four Welsh forces had planned how they were going to make the required savings, with Gwent planning 95% of the required amount.
Three out of four Welsh forces are also planning to reduce police officer numbers by less than the England and Wales average, and plan to have a higher proportion of police officers on the frontline by 2015 than the England and Wales average. Dyfed Powys Police already has one of the highest proportions and plans to keep it the same.
The most important thing is that in three out of four forces, crime has continued to fall. Indeed, Dyfed Powys police has the lowest crime rates of any other force inEngland and Wales.
The Secretary of State and I meet regularly with all the Welsh Chief Constables and I know they are committed to reducing crime and continuing to deliver an excellent service to the communities that they serve, despite the financial pressures.
Labour's Shadow Welsh Secretary has accused the UK Government of misleading the public over the likely impact of spending cuts on policing. Owen Smith says today's report from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary shows clearly how the cuts will affect both frontline officers and support staff:
And he warned that the cuts could lead to an increase in crime:
(Welsh Secretary) Cheryl Gillan and (Wales Office minister) David Jones keep reassuring people that Welsh crime figures might not necessarily rise as a result of the cuts, but in Labour we know that there was a clear connection between the investment we made in policing, increasing the numbers of frontline officers to record levels, and the corresponding record low in crime figures.
Let’s hope the Government are right, but at present they are displaying a staggering degree of complacency as they preside over unprecedented cuts in police resources.
The Police Federation in Wales has reacted 'with dismay' to today's report from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary which forecasts that more than 600 police officers will lose their jobs as a result of spending cuts over the next three years. Jeff Mapps of the Federation in Wales, says
However you calculate losses, let us not forget that these new figures are just forecasts based upon just one years savings - of a four year programme – of deep, rapid cuts that have seen a momentum that depletes front line services. The figures do not show that the starting point for such cuts was actually higher, and as such, deep losses have already been made and felt by the public and police service alike_