Police in Cardiff said they have felt increased pressure because there are now fewer officers patrolling the streets.
PC Barry Walker has been on the beat protecting the public for just over 28 years. During this time he has even arrested generations of the same family.
I was dealing with individuals, then I was dealing with their children, then their children… I’m locking up the grandkids of the ones I started with.
Despite this, PC Walker said the job has completely changed since he joined the force.
Another issue for officers is having to deal with mental health crisis calls, which they said should not be cases for police.
The Policing Minister Nick Hurd has been on patrol with officers, including PC Barry Walker, in Cardiff today to discuss the UK Government’s plans to increase mental health support for police.
I’ve had a very frank conversation with officers here at the station where they’re making the point, which I completely understand, demand on them has increased, there are fewer of them and of course there are consequences there in terms of the strain and the pressure they’re under. So our response is we’re investing more in the police system here in Wales… A billion pounds more as a country we’re spending on police and recruiting more than three and a half thousand more officers.
Some have suggested if policing was devolved, there would be a more joined up approach with health and other services in Wales. It is argued this could make it easier on officers.
Mr Hurd said there are currently no plans to devolve policing.
Wales has got some of the best police forces in the country.
As far as I can see the police forces are cooperating extremely well with the devolved administration and the devolved health service so I’m not sure there’s a problem that needs fixing there other than the need to continue our increased investment and support for the police so that they’ve got the resources and the powers that they need to do their very difficult and demanding job on all our behalf.
For PC Walker, the news from Mr Hurd is welcome, as he says officers in Cardiff have had to find their own ways to cope.
I feel extra pressure but I’ve got a very good family life and very good colleagues here and we self brief at the end of incidents. It’s almost self mentally treating each other if you like. And that’s the way I cope with it.