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North Wales Police

North Wales Police (Welsh: Heddlu Gogledd Cymru) is the territorial police force responsible for policing North Wales. The headquarters are in Colwyn Bay, with divisional headquarters in St Asaph, Caernarfon and Wrexham.

North Wales Police
Heddlu Gogledd Cymru
Agency overview
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionAnglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd and Wrexham, Wales, United Kingdom
North Wales police area map.svg
Map of North Wales Police's jurisdiction.
Size6,290 km²
General nature
HeadquartersColwyn Bay

Sworn members1,483 (of which 136 are Special Constables)[1]
Police and Crime Commissioner responsible
Agency executive


North Wales Police Headquarters in Colwyn Bay

Gwynedd Constabulary was formed in 1950 by the amalgamation of Caernarfonshire Constabulary, Anglesey Constabulary and Merionethshire Constabulary; Flintshire Constabulary and Denbighshire Constabulary were combined into the force in 1967. In 1974, the Local Government Act 1972 created an administrative county of Gwynedd covering the western part of the police area (equivalent to the original Gwynedd Constabulary area). As a result of this, the force was renamed North Wales Police on 1 April 1974.

Under proposals made by the Home Secretary on 6 February 2006, the force would merge with Dyfed-Powys Police, Gwent Police and South Wales Police to form a single strategic force for all of Wales. The proposals were later shelved.

North Wales Police Authority / Police and Crime CommissionerEdit

The North Wales Police Authority consisted of 17 members, of whom 9 were councillors, 3 were magistrates and 5 were independent members. The councillors were appointed by a Joint Committee of the unitary authority councils of Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd and Wrexham.

The Police Authority was replaced by the Office of the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner in November 2012.


On 4 May 2011, North Wales Police completed a major restructure, moving from 3 territorial divisions to a single North Wales-wide Policing function.


North Wales Police is a partner in the following collaboration:


In recent years North Wales Police has attracted a great deal of media attention above and beyond its size. Many have attributed this phenomenon to its former Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom, who accepts he is obsessed with speeding motorists.[2] He has often courted controversy and publicity through his vocal views on speeding motorists and the legalisation of drugs. The Sun newspaper dubbed him the "Mad Mullah of the Traffic Taleban." Despite this negative publicity he has earned respect for learning the Welsh language, actively promoting the normalisation of its use within the force at all levels and conversing publicly through it on numerous occasions. He is also credited with modernising the organisation's infrastructure in comparison with other areas of Britain.

In April 2007, Brunstrom came under fire for an incident in which he showed a photograph of the severed head of a biker in a press meeting without the family's permission. Brunstrom maintains that it was a "closed" meeting, a point made both on the invitation and verbally, and that no details of the picture should have been leaked. It also drew criticism because the photo enabled the media to identify the deceased, since he was wearing a distinctive T-shirt with an anti-police message on it, which gained a lot of attention during the inquest.[3] Motorcycle News magazine handed in a 1,600 signature petition to the Independent Police Complaints Commission in London requesting Brunstrom be removed,[4] The Independent Police Complaints Commission confirmed that it would carry out an independent review into the incident.[5] Other people[who?] note that the motorcyclist who was killed, caused the accident that severely disabled the other car driver, so Brunstrom has a valid point that motoring is an important area to focus on.

North Wales Police has also attracted attention due to its investigation into allegations of anti-Welsh comments by TV personality Anne Robinson and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. The force was believed to have carried out these investigations following complaints from members of the public. The 10-month investigation into the Prime Minister was dropped on 11 July 2006 due to a lack of evidence. It had cost £1,656, whereas the Anne Robinson investigation cost £3,800.[6]

As with all other territorial police force North Wales Police have police community support officers (PCSOs). As of 31 March 2011 North Wales Police have 159 PCSOs.[7] Unlike the majority of police forces in England and Wales North Wales Police is only one out of three forces that issue its PCSOs hand cuffs[8] The only other forces that do this are Dyfed-Powys Police and British Transport Police (BTP).[9] The issuing of handcuffs to PCSOs has been controversial.[10]

List of Chief ConstablesEdit

  • Sir Philip Myers, 1974 to 1982
  • David Owen, 1982 to 1994
  • Michael Argent, 1994 to 2001
  • Richard Brunstrom, 2001 to 2009
  • Mark Polin, 2010 to 2018
  • Gareth Pritchard, Temporary Chief Constable, 2018 to 2019
  • Carl Foulkes, 2019 to present

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Tables for 'Police workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2013". HM Government. Office for National Statistics. 31 March 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
  2. ^ "Police chief: my speed obsession". 3 November 2004. Retrieved 23 March 2018 – via
  3. ^ "Row over decapitated biker photo". 27 April 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2018 – via
  4. ^ "We deliver your Brunstrom petition to the IPCC". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Force faces biker photo inquiry". 3 May 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2018 – via
  6. ^ "No action over PM Welsh 'insult'". 11 July 2006. Retrieved 23 March 2018 – via
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 December 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit