Police patrols on M4 under threat

A police chief in South Wales has warned that officers may be forced to stop patrolling the M4 because of financial difficulties.

According to Barbara Wilding, head of South Wales Police, emergency call-outs would still be attended to, but any additional patrols of the motorway could be cut if more funding is not received.

Police in Wales must manage and organise their own traffic patrols on major roads, while in England there are dedicated teams of traffic management officers.

Ms Wilding said she had suggested to the Assembly Government that a similar scheme be set up in Wales, but this was dismissed because it would cost £2 million.

She has called for a 9.8% increase in the amount council tax payers are charged for policing, so that patrols of the M4 can continue.

Ministers in Cardiff Bay have warned Wales's four police authorities that their council tax precepts will be capped to prevent increases of more than 5% on a band D home.

Ms Wilding said that in the worst case South Wales Police would face a deficit of £14 million.

In a statement, she said her officers would continue to attend crashes and help anyone in need.

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