Buy local to boost economy and create jobs, urges police boss

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A police boss is urging public bodies to buy local to boost the economy, create jobs and enhance the lives of communities across North Wales.

The region’s police and crime commissioner, Arfon Jones, was speaking after Gwynedd-based Snowdonia Fire and Security, which also has offices in Kinmel Bay and Aberystwyth, beat off international competition to land an £80,000, five-year contract with North Wales Police.

The fast-growing family firm has taken over the supply, installation and maintenance of fire alarms at 120 police stations and fire stations across the region, replacing US multinational Honeywell as part of the commissioner’s ground-breaking social value policy.

Mr Jones, whose responsibilities include the force’s buildings and estates, said: “It is vital that major organisations like North Wales Police use their buying power to benefit the region in which they operate.

“Around 80 per cent of our budget goes on salaries and pension so we spend something like £30 million on consumables.

“My aim is to use this wherever possible to enhance the well-being of communities across North Wales through social value.

“Snowdonia Fire and Security is a progressive business which employs staff across North and Mid Wales, provides excellent training and an apprenticeship scheme and has a track record of delivering a top quality service.

“In awarding them the contract I am ensuring that the money remains in the area and benefits local businesses and people.

“It is estimated that each pound of a contract like this is spent over three times in the region and that adds up to a quarter of a million ponds injection into the North Wales economy.

“I would urge all other public bodies, including local authorities, to ensure they procure goods and services from local suppliers whenever possible.

“It is about building an enhanced and strengthened local economy, creating economic growth, jobs and opportunities for local people.”

Snowdonia Fire and Security was founded in 1974 by David Greasley in Waunfawr, near Caernarfon, where it is still based but has grown to employ 68 people and work across the whole of North and Mid Wales and into Cheshire and Shropshire.

The managing director is David’s son, Peter, and his wife Janet is co-director who also works for the business along with their three sons, Dafydd, Marc and Sion.

They have an apprenticeship scheme and have also supported their office manager, Sally Evans, to learn Welsh and she has achieved an A-level in the language and sings with two local Welsh choirs.

Peter, said: “We carry out a wide range of services relating to fire safety and security and we employ staff right across North and Mid Wales.

“That means we will never be more than 20 miles away from a police station and can always guarantee a quick response.

“Recently we’ve been increasingly busy across the border too,  and since it became compulsory to install sprinkler systems in new homes in Wales, we have become even busier.

“We’re delighted that the Commissioner is so supportive of local businesses and in turn we do our best to support the local communities in which we work.

“We have over 50 vehicles which we buy locally, we sponsor several football teams, support local charities and recently sponsored the first schools fly-fishing competition for Gwynedd and Anglesey when we were delighted that Ysgol Syr Huw Owen, Caernarfon, came out on top.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones added: “It really makes sense to use local procurement wherever and whenever possible and I am pleased this is being done by all four Welsh Police and Crime Commissioners.

“It benefits the local community and strengthens our links with those communities and that is one of the foundations of policing.”