A POLICE and crime commissioner has rejected a call for taxpayers’ money to be used to fund private security firms to deal with drug crime.

Dafydd Llywelyn told the Dyfed-Powys police and crime panel that he was disappointed with the question, which was submitted in writing by a member of the public.

The question asked if it was time to use some of the council tax element which funds police on private companies instead.

It said “I and my neighbours no longer have any confidence in the police at all, and no longer bother to report drug crime in our area”.

Mr Llywelyn reeled off a series of drug operations carried out by Dyfed-Powys Police in recent years, and said a higher proportion of the public felt the force was doing a good or excellent job than any other force in England and Wales.

He said: “2017/18 has seen a significant increase in gangs from the North West (of England) and the Midlands.”

These gangs, he said, exploited the young and the vulnerable in a bid to access properties from which drug operations could be run.

“The force has put in place specific operations to address this,” he said.

The commissioner said Operation Ulysses, which targeted dealers from Liverpool bringing heroin into Llanelli and other Class A drugs elsewhere in South West Wales, had resulted in 32 defendants being sentenced to a total of 216 years in prison.

Another campaign, Operation Panther, led to 13 people being jailed for a total of almost 35 years, while half the defendants collared after a more recent operation had indicated guilty pleas.

Mr Llywelyn said that the work of the force’s serious organised crime between 2015 and 2018 had resulted in £23.6 million drug seizures, 117 convictions and jail terms totalling 421 years and five months.

And he said recent “county lines” operations — targeting drug dealing across county borders — had yielded 51 arrests and the safeguarding of seven vulnerable people.

“I don’t feel that funding private security firms is an idea to even be considered,” said Mr Llywelyn.

But he said that more community-based drug work was also important and that it was vital for the public to contact the police if they had information about drug dealing.

“We need communities to provide us with that information, and not to disregard the issue,” he said.

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