Police and crime commissioner questions: Christopher Salmon

Christopher Salmon Christopher Salmon has imposed a recruitment freeze on police staff

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One month since the four new police and crime commissioners (PCC) in Wales started their jobs, we asked them for progress so far.

Two independents, one Labour and one Conservative were elected last month in what was described as the biggest shake-up of policing for almost 50 years.

The commissioners will be in post until 2016 and will have the power to set policing priorities, budgets and also to hire and fire chief constables.

First is the Conservative commissioner for Dyfed-Powys Police, Christopher Salmon. We will feature the others on consecutive days.

What have you been doing in the job so far?

I've been busy meeting police officers and police staff throughout the Dyfed-Powys force area. I am listening to their views and those of the public and our partners in the criminal justice system before making any major decisions.

Following the chancellor's autumn statement I decided to impose a recruitment freeze on police staff. I think it's important to be prudent in the face of uncertainty.

I have recently met with senior representatives of the National Police Air Service (NPAS) to make them aware that I want to retain the force helicopter.

So far I have been focused on neighbourhood policing, spending wisely and raising standards. The force has done an excellent job of responding to the need to reduce costs, but more needs to be done.

In the first quarter of the new year I'll be focusing on producing policing priorities, a police and crime plan and setting the level of the precept, which is the part of the council tax that pays for policing.

In your opinion, are PCCs paid too much? Why?

No. I believe PCC salaries are commensurate with the role and responsibilities of the post. They are paid considerably less than the chief constables they hold to account.

Have you appointed any staff or taken on any staff from the former police authority? Will you be doing so?

Staff of the former police authority currently remain in post. I will consider what staff I need over the new year and make an announcement in January.

On how many occasions have you spoken to the chief constable so far? What about mainly?

I regularly meet with the chief constable and we discuss a wide range of organisational and policing issues.

Have you learnt anything surprising in the job yet?

How willing and open officers and staff have been to new ideas. I look forward to harnessing that energy to face the challenges and opportunities of 2013.

Have you had much contact with the public so far? What have they been saying to you?

Before and since being elected PCC, I have and continue to speak with people throughout Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Powys.

The OPCC (Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner) post has increased enormously in the last few weeks. People want to have a say in how the police are run.

They want a sense of ownership, to feel they are "our" police. Some correspondence relates to complaints, others contain suggestions and advice.

Q&A: Winston Roddick, North Wales

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