Plaid Cymru have announced that they will create a new £50m crime prevention fund to recruit 1,600 extra police officers through the creation of a Welsh justice system and the devolution of policing.
Announcing the policy, Plaid Cymru parliamentary candidate Liz Saville Roberts said that this was part of the party's initiative to combat crime and to move towards a people-centered justice system to prioritise the 'needs of our communities'.
Ms Saville Roberts said police budgets had been 'slashed' by the Tories and that cuts had hit Welsh forces the hardest. She added that Plaid Cymru's £50m on a crime prevention fund and 1,600 extra police officers would 'rectify the damage' on police forces by 'successive Tory Governments'.
Plaid Cymru's spokesperson on justice in the Senedd, Leanne Wood AM added that the devolution of criminal justice would allow 'us to create an approach to crime that suits the needs of Wales', to invest in preventative & victim support services.
Plaid Cymru parliamentary candidate Liz Saville Roberts said,
"Police budgets have been slashed by the Tories, putting far fewer officers on the street. Welsh forces have been hit harder than those in the rest of the UK, due to an unfair funding formula.
"To rectify the damage and underfunding wrought on our police forces by successive Tory Governments, Plaid Cymru will spend £50m to recruit an extra 1,600 police officers – two for each community – to keep us safe. This would mean that our officers will be better rooted in our communities, instead of being stretched to cover large geographical areas with few resources.
"The extra police officers will help facilitate community engagement in which the police and the community can relay issues of mutual concern. Targeted, community based problem-solving approaches improve crime reduction and rehabilitation.
"With policing devolved, Welsh police forces would be entitled to an additional £25 million from a block grant from the UK Government, rather than through the unequal police funding formula.
"It is unacceptable that Wales is the only nation in the UK without powers over its policing and justice policies. Plaid Cymru will demand the creation of a Welsh justice system to create integrated people-centred services – from prisons to counselling to housing – to replace the present callous approach that prioritises targets over people's needs and the interest of our communities – as argued by the Thomas Commission on Justice in Wales.
Leanne Wood AM Plaid Cymru's spokesperson on justice in the Senedd added,
"The devolution of criminal justice will allow us to create an approach to crime that suits the needs of Wales and to set our own priorities.
"It will allow us to treat issues like problematic substance use and mental health problems which often exist because of trauma or adverse childhood experiences as health matters first, with the aim of treating the root cause of those problems, not just patching up the symptoms afterwards. It will mean we can move away from criminalising homeless people for example; improve and invest in support services; tackle hate crime and the disparity of treatment and outcomes for BAME people within the criminal justice system.
"It would allow us to take a "Whole Systems Approach" – as in Scotland – to tackle Adverse Childhood Experiences at source and thereby reduce their impact later in life.
"It will allow us to develop community-based interventions & more restorative justice approaches which are more effective at reducing reoffending and social exclusion than short-term imprisonment. There is plenty of evidence to show that a preventative approach across health, criminal justice, education and other settings is more effective in tackling and addressing the underlying causes of crime than ever longer and even more prison sentences."