The UK Government has been urged to pick up the bill for extra costs linked to Britain’s biggest super-prison coming to Wrexham.
North Wales Police expects to face staffing costs of £147,000 a year as a result of the new £212m prison which is due to house 2,106 offenders. It has applied for funding from the Home Office to cover the extra costs.
There are now demands for the UK Government to state how it will help fund local services, such as the NHS, as a result of extra demand.
North Wales Police stated in response to a Freedom of Information request from Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP Liz Saville Roberts: “Work has been ongoing since the announcement of the North Wales Prison in partnership with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), National Offender Management Service and National Offender Management Service Wales to provide the most effective and efficient response to the potential increase in demand created by the new prison.
“Based on the available data, incident and crime prediction work has been undertaken and current estimates put the police staffing costs at £147,000 per annum with £52,500 capital costs in year one and £21,000 per annum associated revenue costs thereafter.
“Central funding from the Home Office has been applied for to cover these costs.”
Ms Roberts said: “At a time when police forces are struggling with limited resources and tight budgets, it’s unacceptable to expect a local force to foot the bill for a UK Government project, (one) which fails to serve to needs of the people of Wales.
“By intention, the super-prison will meet the needs of Northwest England, not those of North Wales. So why should North Wales Police be left to cover the cost of policing this facility?”
She added: “We also need to know how much additional money will be made available to the health board by the UK Government via Welsh Government. Has there been a cold evaluation of the wider costs to Wales, especially to Betsi Cadwaladr?”
Ms Roberts pledged she would “raise this with the Home Office and the MOJ … as to whether they intend to provide this funding or expect North Wales Police to foot the bill.”
Arfon Jones, Plaid Cymru ’s North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner candidate said: “I am glad we finally have clarity on policing costs but I do feel these are on the low side and only include the cost of police officers not the total cost of investigating offences.
“We also need an undertaking that the MOJ or the Home Office pay for the cost of policing the prison and not the taxpayers of North Wales.”
Wrexham Labour MP Ian Lucas said: “This is a UK Prison and the cost is a UK responsibility.”
Arfon Jones, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner candidate said: “I am glad we finally have clarity on policing costs but I do feel these are on the low side and only include the cost of police officers not the total cost of investigating offences.
The UK Government was invited to comment.