NORTH Wales Police is set to gain 200 new officers under the UK Government’s plan to boost policing in England and Wales.

On his first day as Prime Minister in late July, Boris Johnson made a flurry of promises on the steps of 10 Downing Street, including a vow to recruit an extra 20,000 officers over the next three years.

Estimated to cost £1.1bn, nationwide recruitment is set to start this month amid claims by opposition parties that a similar number of officers have been lost since the Conservatives took office in 2010.

At a regional meeting at Pwllheli in Gwynedd on Monday, September 9, councillors were told that many of the new recruits in the North Wales force would be deployed in more rural areas.

Inspector Matt Geddes admitted that officers had experienced a “difficult” summer having touched minimum staffing levels at various points in the Gwynedd area. He said that while speculation surrounds the policing pledge amid Brexit uncertainty, an extra 200 officers over a three-year period would be “a massive increase”.

“With that comes an onus for us to prioritise our teams to be in the right areas at the right time, thankfully this summer it seems to have worked relatively well,” Insp Geddes said, adding that there were plans in place for “new shift patterns”.

“On a staffing note I’m fairly confident, moving into the new year we will have far more resilience,” he said.

“Obviously there are moves in Westminster to support that, we’re not exactly sure how that will look locally at the moment but there’s certainly an appetite by chief officers to look at the issues that we faced this summer and ensure there isn’t a repeat of that.”

Insp Geddes said former chief inspector Mark Armstrong, who was also present at the meeting, is “really keen to have more of an impact on rural policing” and “more visible policing” in areas such as south Gwynedd and rural Conwy.

“Of the 20,000 officers that [Boris Johnson] has promised, North Wales Police is probably looking at 200, which on top of our normal strength is a massive increase over a three-year period,” Insp Geddes added.

“That will take time of course and is all subject to speculation and what happens on October 31, but at the moment that’s where we are.”