We are currently experiencing network problems with the desktop version of Police Oracle. We hope to have these resolved as soon as possible.

CC Carl Foulkes: “I will absolutely go with a heavy heart”

North Wales Chief Constable Carl Foulkes will leave the force in mid-October. Before he goes, Police Oracle caught up with him for a whistle-stop tour of the last four years.

“I’ve absolutely loved my time here,” he started.

“It genuinely is a great force with great people policing great communities. It’s really family focused - lots of our people work here, and their families are from here - it creates a real sense of value for the local community.” 

“I wanted to make North Wales the safest place in the UK. Have we achieved that? No, we haven't, but is it safe? Absolutely.” 

CC Foulkes told Police Oracle one of his key priorities has been improving the wellbeing offer for staff. That’s not about “pink and fluffy” he clarified, but supporting staff so that they can give their best to the service. 

One of the examples he pulled out was rolling out prostate cancer testing for men - which all those in the service of a certain age can now access. The initiative came from the occupational health team and CC Foulkes said it has saved lives, identified those at high risk and also given men the space to talk about their health and other issues. 

“We can argue, is that a responsibility of policing or not? I think it fundamentally is,” he said. 

Although wellbeing support has been a priority, officers are not exempt from some of the pressures that are being faced across the service - which includes dealing with health-related incidents. 

CC Foulkes himself recently dealt with a road traffic incident where individuals were driven to hospital in a police car because it was quicker than waiting for an ambulance - something he said was neither ideal for the individuals involved nor the officers. 

North Wales has an escalation process in the control room where incidents can be escalated to the ambulance service as well as mental heallth practitioners in the control room who can make decisions around individuals at a scene. 

Also in the works is the possibility of getting clinicians from the Welsh ambulance services into the control room - again to make those real-time decisions and relieve demand on staff. 

Partnership working itself is an approach that could soon be further strengthened with discussions ongoing around a Covenant for Wales. 

CC Foulkes explained: “We've got something here that feels different now, that complements the police covenant which was more broad.

“Ultimately, to some extent, the issues that affect paramedics, affect firefighters, affect police officers and and those that work in prisons are very similar. So if we can work together to do some of this around an emergency services covenant for Wales, I and the other chiefs, and the Welsh Government feel like it's the right thing to do.” 

And is it likely we will see a unison of the Welsh forces any time soon? The North Wales Chief has his hesitations. 

Although he said the 43 force structure absolutely is starting to throw up challenges and needs to be discussed, he is not persuaded by the argument for one Welsh force. 

“When I look at my threat, risk and harm - all my demand comes from the North West and predominately Merseyside. So we work with the North West regional organised crime unit, and GMP and Merseyside,” he explained. 

“Because of the nature of Wales, we don't get a lot of movement from north to south, there's a big mountain range that cuts across it and actually makes it quite difficult.”

Nevertheless, the Welsh language is as important as ever - and learning it was a pledge from himself when he came into the role. He’s made it to level 3, he said, and is comfortable having a conversation now. 

“I do have to remind some of our English colleagues, the responsibilities around the Welsh language are in law in wales. So it's not a ‘nice to do’, it's absolutely fundamental to our delivery and approach under the Welsh Language Act and the Welsh Language Commissioner. Sometimes that nuance is forgotten about. 

“If we can get to a place that that every interaction we can we can have is in the language of choice, that would be fantastic. We're not quite there.” 

He highlighted that individuals would get their language of choice in the control room, most of the stations and in custody - but there are still gaps. 

Dyfed-Powys has recently announced an initiative to offer parts of the PEQF course itself in Welsh which CC Foulkes said was interesting and definitely on North Wales’ radar. 

After a long career, what's the main stand-out?

“The biggest part that I'll miss from this role is the people, because it's what makes the job tick. But if you can make a difference for the people that work for you and the communities you serve, then that's why we do the job we do," he said. 

Leave a Comment
In Other News
Kent Chief Constable leaves force to advise Productivity Review
Profile: for the record
Met's new Commissioner starts briefings - and a search for new top team
Steve Jupp is new national police lead for serious organised crime
Suffolk chief to leave force to take up national policing role
College starts programme to "create leaders at every level"
More News