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28 Jan 2009 : Column 141WH—continued

I hope that the hon. Gentleman is not saying that, as an alternative, 80 per cent. of officers’ time in neighbourhood policing should not be spent on the patch, because that is not the message we are hearing from communities, which want more officer time. I hope he is not saying that we should stipulate what the public can expect from police officers, in terms of when they turn up. He might think that we have set very
28 Jan 2009 : Column 142WH
ambitious targets for Dyfed-Powys, but I assure him that we have set ambitious targets for every police force in every police area, because we want to respond, as far as we can, to what the public are telling us they want.

If the hon. Gentleman wants to know where the money is coming from, I should like to point out two things: substantial resources have been put into his area and resources will continue to go to such areas. He might say that there is a case for rural policing, but that is why we have the fund that he mentioned and why we intend to continue with it.

Mark Williams: I am grateful for the Minister’s comments about the intention to continue with that rural policing dimension, because that is critical and what the debate is all about. That is the assurance that I had hoped to hear. I hope also that it will be pursued by the group considering rule 2 grants to address some concerns expressed by Dyfed-Powys in the medium term.

The Minister is right to talk about public engagement. This debate is all about meeting the expectations of the public in terms of visibility, response times and giving Dyfed-Powys the staffing and resources that it deserves.

Mr. Campbell: I hope that the hon. Gentleman is reassured by my remarks. I assure him that where forces rely on the funding that he has mentioned, and on our floor mechanisms, we will not take any steps that put that funding in jeopardy. We want sustainable funding to continue the progress being made in his area and others.

Question put and agreed to.

4.59 pm

Sitting adjourned.

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