Police and crime commissioner to step down

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones has announced he is retiring at the next election.

Arfon Jones, the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner at Police HQ in Colwyn Bay.g
Arfon Jones, the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner at Police HQ in Colwyn Bay.g

The former police inspector won the 2016 election standing for Plaid Cymru with a 25,000 majority.

He said it was one of the proudest moments of his life when he was elected to lead the police force he had served for 30 years, both in uniform and as a detective.

The next election had originally been due to take place last May but the vote was put back a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Jones said: “The main reason I have decided not to seek re-election is that I will been working for more than 46 years by the time of the next election.

“As a result of the pandemic the term of office was extended for a year. I started thinking about this last May but I didn’t talk to anybody else about it until three months ago.

“I have achieved a lot in the past five years and it is going to be more difficult to make a difference next time because of the pandemic, Brexit and the fact that the term of office has been curtailed to three years.”

Mr Jones pledged to make tackling domestic violence a top priority and he provided the money to ensure that North Wales Police was the first force in Wales to issue body worn video cameras– particularly useful in the aftermath of an incident of domestic abuse – to all front line officers.

He also invested money and resources to tackle new and emerging threats like the sexual exploitation of vulnerable people, including children, and fraud.

Dedicated

As well as setting up a new Economic Crime Unit to crack down on fraudsters, the police and crime commissioner provided funding to pay for a dedicated officer to support fraud victims and funded the appointment of the UK's first police support officer to help victims of modern slavery.

As a long-time campaigner for drugs legislation reform, Mr Jones the Checkpoint Cymru scheme to steer low-level offenders, including people caught with drugs for personal use, away from crime. His officers also became the first in Wales to carry a life-saving nasal spray called Naloxone which acts as an antidote to a drugs overdose.

Once the results of the trial are evaluated, the commissioner hopes the initiative can be rolled out across North Wales.

He praised his officer.

"I've been blown away by the professionalism of young officers that I’ve met over the last five years.

“Nothing stands still with policing. Our officers are having to deal with new and worrying trends like online crime and child sex abuse. But these are not issues that that the police can tackle alone – for example, the Internet Service Providers can do a lot to prevent online grooming and the abuse of children.

“In an ever changing world, the criminals are adapting and the police have to adapt equally quickly which is why we have increased the staff in the Victim Help Centre."

“We’ve been addressing the causes of crime not just the symptoms and that’s the right thing to do. We are doing a great deal of preventative work by looking at Adverse Childhood Experiences which can have a massive impact on future behaviour.

“Invariably, the root cause is that something traumatic has happened in people’s lives, including being abused as children. Mental health issues go hand in hand with problematic drug use and people in that situation suffer from a whole raft of problems."

“We need to stop the revolving door of people going in and out of the Criminal Justice System. Rather that perpetuate the cycle of crime and punishment we need to break that vicious circle so there are fewer crimes and fewer victims.”

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