A child protection specialist has been unveiled as the new Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales.
According to Ann Griffith, who has 30 years’ experience as a social worker, she is committed to listening to children and young people.
The 55-year-old Welsh speaker, a Plaid Cymru member of the Isle of Anglesey County Council, is the choice of the recently-elected North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones.
The appointment will be considered for confirmation at a meeting of the Police and Crime Panel next Thursday (July 28).
Ms Griffith, who has also worked as a Ministry of Justice appointee, said: “Criminalising young people unnecessarily can blight the rest of their lives and prevent them becoming useful members of society.
“I see my role as working with North Wales Police and other agencies to help keep young people out of trouble and in helping those that have broken the law to integrate back into society.
“I have a particular interest in finding innovative ways of working with young people to support, prevent and divert them from a life of crime after working for over 30 years as a social worker across all six counties of North Wales.
Her experience has given her a grasp of many of the latest challenges facing the police today including Child Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking, Modern Slavery, Hate Crime, Cyber Bullying and Anti-Social Behaviour and Domestic Violence.
She has worked with North Wales Police on child abuse investigations, chaired child protection conferences and children in care reviews as well as managing Safeguarding Children Boards in Flintshire and Wrexham and Gwynedd and Anglesey.
She stood for Plaid Cymru in the Montgomery seat at the 2015 general election and was a candidate on the party’s North Wales regional list at the Welsh Assembly elections earlier this year.
Ms Griffith, who also worked for the NSPCC for 10 years, said: “As a social worker you have to deal with some very challenging situations and often when you see people in difficulties you think there but for the grace of God go all of us.
“What I do see when working with families where children have needed protection is that very often there is dependency on drugs or alcohol and poor mental health.
“Because someone has behaved badly or offended doesn’t mean there isn’t good in some aspects of their lives.”
Coincidentally, she was educated at Ysgol Ardudwy, in Harlech, the same school as Arfon Jones but they were in different years and did not know each other then. They are both members of Plaid Cymru and met a number of years later.
Ms Griffith will continue in her role as a councillor and in the meantime will be receiving her salary of £42,000 pro rata.
Commissioner Jones: “I was delighted to be able to appoint a deputy commissioner of such high calibre.
“Addressing youth crime and not criminalising young people is a priority and Ann’s previous experience provides her with the skills needed to tackle this issue.
“She also has a good understanding and experience of engaging with community groups and partnership working which are both essential prerequisites for the role.
“As an elected representative, she has demonstrated her proficiency in scrutinising and holding people in authority to account and in that regard she will be a first class advocate for the communities we serve.
“Ann has a high level of integrity and I have complete confidence in her ability to do an excellent job for the people of North Wales.
Originally from Barmouth. Ms Griffith has also run a jewellery import/retail business, Geco Arian, which began in the 1980s.
This saw her travel extensively in Central and South America and the Far East where she saw much poverty, suffering and social injustice.