Monday, July 30, 2018


Since September 2009 - which was the last set of figures before the Conservatives came into government in coalition with the Liberal Democrats - there's been a cut of 22,424 police officers at the same time the numbers of police community support officers (PCSOs), who patrol the streets, have been reduced by almost 40% since the Tories took office in 2010.  

The Scottish police force has been exempt from Tory cuts due to the fact that policing is devolved to Scotland. As a result Police officer numbers in Scotland has risen more or less continuously for the last 30 years while in Northern Ireland there has been a smaller decrease since 2010 than in England and Wales.

Back in 2016 the Westminster Government delayed the introduction of a new funding formula for forces in Wales and England after a “statistical error” was discovered. Once the new funding formula was introduced, Welsh police forces ended up some £32 million a year worse off. 

The danger is that those Con Dem and Conservative cuts could end up shaping and setting the policing agenda here in Wales for the next twenty years. We should also remember that when the choice of devolving Policing to Wales was tabled during the Wales Bill debate the Conservatives voted it down and the Labour Party abstained.

Fundamentally policing decisions in Wales need to reflect the needs and concerns of our communities, not the cost cutting agenda of the current Conservative Prime Minister (and previous Home Secretary) and the Ministry of Criminal Justice in London.

The devolution of policing would have meant that the Welsh police forces would have been exempt from the Tories’ planned £32 million cut to their budgets and could have benefitted by an additional £25 million through being funded through the Barnett formula - something that could have meant a total difference in Welsh police budgets of some £57 million.

At the end of the day, the Welsh people have a simple democratic right to have a greater say in something so fundamental to civilised community life as policing. This is already the case in Scotland, Northern Ireland, London and Manchester. Policing is only one side of the coin, to make devolved policing work, there is also a need to devolve control of criminal justice. 

Now is right time to devolve policing powers to the Welsh Government in Cardiff before our communities have to live with the consequences of any more cuts forced upon us post BREXIT . Devolving policing powers would increase the accountability of the Welsh Government; strengthen the democratic process by allowing decisions, which directly impact on the Welsh people to be made, reviewed, revised and changed here in Wales. 

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