No more excuses - Time for Wales to take control over policing


Plaid Cymru spokesperson, Elfyn Llwyd MP, says that the time is now right for Wales to take control of policing and has called for sensible debate on the subject, rather than empty rhetoric.

Mr Llwyd said that a report by HMIC showed that Welsh police forces had been helped by an element of protection from some of the cuts because of actions taken by Plaid Cymru when in government in Wales, but maintained that the only way of stopping Westminster cuts was to take responsibility for policing in Wales.

Mr Llwyd said:

“Despite the events of the past week, the Westminster Government have made it disappointingly clear that they are not going to change their attitude to policing cuts.

“The Westminster government are making cuts of around 20% in the policing budget and it is only common sense that this will mean a severe impact upon frontline policing.

“Fortunately, police forces in Wales are facing a slightly better situation than their counterparts in England.

“As the HMIC report last month points out, Welsh forces receive an average or higher than national average proportion of their budget from the policing precept; and that we in Wales have made different decisions to England regarding council tax, decisions taken when Plaid Cymru were in government in Cardiff.

“That is why, according to the report, Welsh forces make up three of the four which will be making the fewest cuts.

“But if we want to fully decide how our policing budget is spent, which is what Labour politicians appear to be saying, then the only way to do so is to take control of the policing and criminal justice systems – which is exactly what Labour are refusing to do.

“Plaid have long argued that the only way for us to have our say over policing is for the system to be devolved to the Welsh Government. The police in Scotland are controlled by the Scottish Government and the police in Northern Ireland are controlled by the Northern Ireland executive. We in Wales must take this responsibility too.

“The time has come to have a sensible debate over this matter. There should be no excuses and no laying the blame on Westminster by Labour in Wales if they themselves are unwilling to take join with Plaid in our calls for policing responsibility to come to Wales.”

P10 of the HMIC report (July 2011) on the impact of austerity cuts show that three of the four Welsh Police Forces (Dyfed-Powys, North Wales and South Wales) are facing less than average cuts to their Gross Revenue Expenditure (GRE) because of favourable decisions taken by the Welsh Government when Plaid Cymru shared power in Cardiff (p11).