A police boss has called on the Labour Party to apologise to officers in Wrexham after mounting an “unfounded smear campaign”.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones was responding to a tweet from the Wrexham Constituency Labour Party who attacked the crime rate in the town.
Mr Jones, a former police inspector, said the tweet was “a scurrilous stain on the character” of the local police team who were doing a great job.
According to the commissioner, the tweet had wrongly claimed the crime statistics in Wrexham over the past 12 months were a disgrace when in fact overall crime in the town was down by seven per cent.
He said: “It is the Labour Party who are an absolute disgrace in peddling fake news. They should hang their heads in shame.
“In their desperate attempt to smear my record, the Labour Party are also besmirching the professionalism, dedication and integrity of the officers protecting the public in Wrexham.
“All they have succeeded in doing is increase people’s fear of crime and undermine the public’s confidence.
“There is, of course, always room for improvement and I am not resting on my laurels and neither is the force itself.
“Contrary to what the Labour Party are say, burglary and violence has fallen across North Wales.
“In their tweet, the Labour Party asked me to come clean about the situation in Wrexham so here is the truth of the matter.
“The evidence clearly shows that, overall, crime in Wrexham is down by seven per cent, with a decrease of 27 per cent in residential burglary and a drop of 10 per cent in violence with injury.
“There have been 1,136 stop and searches in Wrexham since April 2019, and 320 offenders have been dealt with
“What all this means is that there were almost 700 fewer victims of overall crime last year, compared to 2018.
“That’s the result of the force adopting a new approach to fighting crime in Wrexham, including more stop and search, new shift patterns, and mobile devices which allow officers to do administrative work in public and thus spend more time on the beat.
Mr Jones also pointed to “very positive” annual report from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services which concluded that North Wales Police was doing a good job in reducing crime and keeping people safe, including the way the force protects vulnerable people.
In addition, the report highlighted that the force had kept up its high standards in relation to preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour, investigating crime, tackling serious and organised crime; meeting current demands and using resources.
The inspectors singled out North Wales Police for praise for its use of domestic violence protection notices (DVPNs) to prevent domestic abuse, with the highest amount issued per head of population in 2018/19 out of all 43 forces in England and Wales.
DVPNs are usually applied in the immediate aftermath of violence, to give the victim a vital window of safety and space, to engage with police and support services to obtain advice.
Her Majesty’s Inspector Wendy Williams said: “I am very pleased with North Wales Police’s performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime. In particular, I note the improvements the force has made since 2017.
“The force is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It is also good at investigating crime and tackling serious and organised crime.
“Keeping people safe is a priority for the force and it works well with other agencies to identify and protect them.
“I commend North Wales Police for the progress it has made over the past year. This provides a strong foundation for continuing improvement in the year ahead.”
Mr Jones added: “The Constituency Labour Party should immediately say they’re sorry to the fine officers working hard to make Wrexham a safer place to live and work.
“They do an excellent job in often difficult circumstances and there are times when they put their lives on the line for the sake of the people of Wrexham.
“There will always be challenges in policing a town the size of Wrexham but the force is always striving to do better, and rightly so.”