North Wales Police (NWP) would like to welcome you to North Wales.
This guide is designed to offer you practical advice and provide some essential information for visiting North Wales.
We hope that this guide will help you. It is intended as a starting point and contains useful information about services you may need while you are here. More detailed information about specific services in your local area will be available through local authorities and charities.
About North Wales Police
NWP is split into ten local policing teams:
Anglesey, Gwynedd North, Gwynedd South in the West
West Conwy Coastal, Denbighshire Coastal & Abergele, Conwy & Denbighshire Rural in Central
Flintshire North, Flintshire South, Wrexham Town, Wrexham Rural in the East
Each area has a combination of community policing teams, response teams and criminal investigation units.
We believe in putting our communities first in everything we do and we are proud to deliver an excellent policing service. We work closely with our communities to tackle the issues that concern them in order to make the region a safe and enjoyable place to live and visit.
The Welsh language belongs to all of us, whether we speak it or not. It is integral to our culture, our heritage and our daily lives. Welsh is widely spoken in our communities here in North Wales and we are proud to be able to say that NWP is committed to being a bilingual organisation.
North Wales Police area map
Our Police Officers are our face and voice in the community. They are easily recognisable by their black uniform, black shirt and hat.
They’re on the ground, speaking to victims, preventing crime and working behind the scenes making a real difference. They come from different walks of life but are united by the same goal – to keep communities safe.
Police Community Support Officers
A Police Community Support Officer (or PCSO) provides support to police officers. Their own powers are fixed, which means that they can detain a suspect until a police officer arrives, but they cannot arrest people, interview prisoners, or investigate serious crime.
However, by being visible and approachable, PCSOs help to prevent trouble, deter crime and make communities safer. PCSOs can be distinguished by the blue bands on their uniform. They are always happy to help should you need them.
When you are connected to the Police the person who answers the phone will speak in English or Welsh depending on your preference. We are a bilingual Police Service.
If English or Welsh is not your preferred language and you need help to tell the Police what has happened, the call handler will contact an interpreter while you are still connected. If the connection is lost for any reason the Police call handler will call you back.
If you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impediment you can report a non-emergency using Typetalk on 18001101.
Although some people might fear crime, the chances of becoming a victim of a serious crime are very low.
If you report a crime we will:
Keep you informed of the progress of the investigation and tell you if we arrest anyone or recover any of your property
Work with other support agencies to offer you further support or assistance
If you witness an incident we will:
Take steps (where possible) to protect your identity
Keep you informed of the progress and outcome of the case
Offer the services of Victim Support - an organisation which will support you during and after any court trial
Common crime offences
Stealing and damaging other people’s property are crimes which happen all around the world.
In Great Britain it is also an offence to:
Carry knives, weapons, or any other item if you are going to use it to injure another person
Use or possess illegal drugs, including cannabis
Have sex at any time without another person’s consent – this includes unwanted physical contact, and also includes if you are married or in a relationship with the other person
For a male or female to have sex with anyone under the age of 16
Use threatening, insulting, or abusive language or behaviour
Use any kind of violence against each other
Engage in prostitution
The UK government defines domestic abuse as, “any incident of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of their gender or sexuality. In British law these will also include forced marriages, honour-based abuse and female genital mutilation.
A forced marriage is one where people are coerced into a marriage against their will. Forced marriages are against the law. A marriage should be entered into with the free and full consent of both parties. The Forced Marriage Unit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is a single point of confidential advice and assistance for those at risk of being forced into marriage.
Telephone number: 0207 700 80 151
Honour based abuse is a fundamental abuse of your human rights. When someone is controlling you by:
Telling you what to do and how to behave
Not allowing you to dress the way you want to
Forcing you into marriage
Saying you would shame and dishonour the family if you are gay, lesbian or transgender
Female genital mutilation
The World Health Organisation defines FGM as “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitals, or other organs for non-medical reasons.”
Human trafficking is a serious crime. A person is trafficked if they are brought to (or moved around) a country by others who threaten, frighten, hurt and force them to do work or other things they don’t want to do.
If you are identified as a victim of trafficking, then you will be entitled to:
Help and protection from the UK Government (this is called the National Referral Mechanism). All support is provided on a confidential basis.
Support if you decide to talk to the Police
You may feel scared, powerless and alone.
However, help is available, and you have the right to independent emotional, medical and practical help. This support could include:
Finding you temporary safe accommodation
Helping you with medical treatment
Having someone to help you cope with your experience
Providing an interpreter/translator to help you communicate in English
Protection: human trafficking is a crime. If you chose to report it to the police, they must respond.
Independent legal advice
What happens if I decide to tell the police about my experience?
Talk to you about what has happened and offer you protection from those that hurt you
Start an investigation
Keep you informed
For help and support, contact The Salvation Army Human Trafficking Helpline on 0300 3038151.
Incidents of prejudice or hate
If you have suffered an incident because of who you are we can get you help and support.
A Non-Crime Hate Incident is when someone behaves in an unfriendly, aggressive or angry way towards a person and the person reporting the incident perceives this behaviour to be motivated by a hatred towards their race, religion, sexuality, gender identity or disability.
A Non-Crime Hate Incident is recorded as a non-crime; meaning that the person’s report will not be investigated because no criminal offence has been committed.
However, Hate Incidents can feel like a crime for the person reporting because they have felt distressed and upset, and so it is important that North Wales Police are made aware of them so that the person reporting the incident is fully supported by our Hate Crime Coordinators.
Hate Crimes are when criminal offences are committed because of someone’s religion, race, sexuality, gender or disability. Hate crimes are investigated. The police will look to identify the person responsible and bring them to justice.
These types of incidents can have a significant effect on the community and can cause misery to people and lead to having feelings of insecurity.
Investigate all incidents involving hate crimes
Take positive action where we can
Keep you informed about the investigation
The police take all types of hate crime very seriously and we encourage you to report these incidents to the police.
The police work with a number of other agencies and can offer help, support and advice in dealing with hate incidents and hate crimes.
If you do not want to report the incident direct to the police, we have a number of Safe Reporting Centres you can visit to report incidents and access help and information. Look for the stop hate logo which identifies 3rd party reporting centres.
You can also download the Stop Hate App which enables you to report issues via your smartphone.
Police Officers in the UK have the power to stop and search you if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that you are carrying:
Something that could be used to commit a crime, e.g. a crowbar
The grounds the police officer must have for stopping and searching you should be based on facts, information or intelligence or it could be because of the way you are behaving.
Things you should know about being stopped and searched:
Being stopped doesn’t mean you are being arrested or that you have done something wrong
If you are stopped by the police and consequently searched, you must stay for the duration of the search
A police officer can ask you to take off some items of clothing such as your coat, jacket or gloves. If they want to remove more than this, they must be the same gender as you.
If a police officer asks you to remove an item of clothing that you are wearing for religious reasons e.g. veil or turban - they must take you somewhere out of public view
The search must take place near to where you have been stopped, except on occasions where moving you would protect your privacy
If you are arrested for an offence you will be taken to a police station where you can:
Arrange for an interpreter if needed
Arrange to speak to a solicitor
Radicalisation is the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies. If you are worried someone close to you is becoming radicalised act early and seek help.
The sooner you reach out, the quicker we can protect the person you care about from being groomed and exploited by extremists.
North Wales Police have specially trained Prevent officers who work alongside other organisations through a Home Office programme called Prevent to help people vulnerable to radicalisation move away from violent extremism. We are here to listen and offer help and advice.
Friends and family are best placed to spot the signs, so trust your instincts and tell us your concerns in confidence. We can help if you act early. You won’t be wasting our time and you won’t ruin lives, but you might save them.
To find out more about how to help someone close to you visit www.actearly.uk or call the Anti-Terrorism Hotline on 0800 789 321
Staying safe at home
It’s important that you keep your home, vehicle and possessions safe whilst you are living here in the UK. Here are some simple tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of crime:
Lock your windows and doors when you go out or go to bed
Use your house alarm if you’ve got one. Light timer switches are a good idea too.
Make sure you lock your UPVC door properly if you have one - remember to lift the handle, turn the key and then remove it
Keep your valuables out of sight, away from your windows and doors e.g. car keys, laptops, mobile phones, purse/wallet
Don’t keep large amounts of money on you when you go out, or leave it in the house - put it into your bank account and withdraw it when needed
Personal information such as passports, ID cards and driving licenses can be used to steal your identity and used in fraud. Keep these documents safe at all times.
Lock your shed and/or garage if you have one
Fit a letterbox restrictor to your front door
Use a UV pen to mark your valuable items with your postcode and house number. This will help us to return these items to you, should they ever be stolen and later found.
Make sure you use strong passwords online to prevent fraud and use different passwords for different websites
Personal safety when out and about
Be aware of your surroundings and keep to well-lit areas
Keep your valuables out of sight
Spread your valuables around your person e.g. your keys in your jacket, phone in your bag, money in trouser pocket
Don’t keep your mobile phone in your back pocket
Avoid texting when walking alone as you may miss signs of potential danger
Smoking and drinking
In the UK, smoking in bars, work places, restaurants and public vehicles, including taxis, trains and buses, is not permitted. It is also illegal to smoke in areas outside that are partially enclosed.
The legal age for consuming alcohol in the UK is 18. ‘Designated Public Place Orders (DPPOs) are assigned to locations where open alcohol can be confiscated and fines can be issued. You should also note that it is illegal to drink alcohol on any form of public transport.
Emergency services should only be used if there is a genuine emergency. For all other medical issues there are other options.
Accident & Emergency (or A&E) is the place to go if you or someone else has/is experiencing:
Loss of consciousness
Severe and persistent chest pain
Bleeding that can’t be stopped
Fits and acute confused states
A&E departments are available in various major hospitals across North Wales.
Ysbyty Gwynedd Penrhosgarnedd, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2PW Tel: 01248 384384
Phone 999 for emergency assistance via ambulance Phone 111 for non-emergency medical advice and assistance
Walk-in centres are run by trained nursing staff that are on hand to treat minor injuries, infections and illnesses. There is no need to make an appointment and centres are usually open well into the evening, seven days a week. Treatment at a walk-in centre is free.
GPs are run by doctors and nurses who provide treatment for chronic illnesses, infections and mild injuries. You will need to register with a GP before you can make an appointment.
Dentists look after tooth and dental pain. You will need to register with your local dentist before you can make an appointment.
Visit a pharmacy: Pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals, and they can offer clinical advice and over the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains.
If symptoms suggest it’s something more serious then pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need.
Pharmacies can be found in most supermarkets, the high-street store ‘Boots’ and they can also be found as independent stores.
Driving in the UK
To drive a car in the UK you must have the following documents:
A driving licence
Valid insurance (refer to your insurance policy)
A yearly MOT certificate
Here is some useful information about driving in the UK, to help keep you and other drivers on the road safe.
In the UK, you must drive on the left-hand side of the road at all times
The driver and all passengers must wear a seatbelt
Babies must be placed in a car seat and children aged 12 or under 1.35 metres in height should use a booster seat
You will be fined and/or given points on your license if you are found using your mobile phone whilst driving
Most speed limits are indicated by black numbers on a circular white sign with a red border
Unless otherwise signposted, builtup areas in the UK have a standard speed limit of 30mph, though in some areas e.g. near schools or on housing estates it can drop to 20mph
You must not drive faster than 70mph on a motorway
Do not use your mobile phone while driving
It is unlawful to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
If you are involved in an accident you MUST stop and exchange your details with all the other drivers involved. In a case of injury, the police MUST be called, in other cases it is advisable to inform the police. You MUST stop if instructed to by police personnel. It is likely the officer will ask to see your driving documents
There are five main causes of serious injuries and deaths on the region’s roads. They are known as the ‘Fatal 5’.
Non-GB license holder and driving in the UK?
You need to be aware of this...
Licences issued outside the UK to non EU residents / international driving permits are valid in the UK for 12 months.
If you intend to stay in the UK beyond this period of time, you will need to apply for a UK provisional driving licence and then successfully complete the theory test and driving test to facilitate further driving in the UK. If you obtain a provisional licence within the 12 months, you can still drive independently on your home country licence for the 12 month period.
If this is not done, you run the risk of being prosecuted for driving without a valid licence, which could invalidate your insurance and you could find it difficult obtaining cover in the future, as you have to disclose all driving convictions from the previous five years!
REMEMBER - You will need to display “L” learner plates on the front and rear of your vehicle and be accompanied by a suitably qualified co driver at all times. (The co-driver has to have held an EU licence for a minimum of three years and be 21 years old or over.) There are no exemptions to these rules.
If you go back to your home country within the first 12 months and return to the UK, your 12 months does not start again. It starts from when you first land in the UK, not from when you start driving, working or studying. Once you take up residency the 12 month period starts.
Enforcement action by North Wales Police and other enforcement agencies could result in a fine, points on your licence (even if you don’t have a GB licence yet), a court appearance or even being disqualified from driving. It is therefore important that the conditions are followed.