Plaid Cymru’s Treasury Spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, will call for the devolution of policing to Wales in a debate in the House of Commons today.
Mr Edwards will argue that devolution would not only allow for the implementation of policies better suited to policing in Wales, but also a financial uplift for Welsh police forces worth millions of pounds.
If policing was devolved to Wales and funded on a population basis – as is the case with other policy areas – Welsh police forces would receive upwards of £20million more per year, than under Westminster control as is the case currently.
Policing has already been devolved to Scotland and Northern Ireland, making the National Assembly for Wales the only devolved legislature not to have any control over its nation’s police forces. Significant elements of policing policy are also devolved to the Mayor of London.
Due to Westminster cuts, Welsh Police and Crime Commissioners are being forced to increase local taxes to deliver vital services. Data shows that Welsh police forces, particularly in rural areas are at a particular disadvantage. Mr Edwards will say that this is “once again, Westminster placing the burden on rural Wales to pay for urban England”.
500 fewer police officers are on the streets in Wales since the Conservatives first came to power due to budget cuts.
Plaid Cymru’s Treasury Spokesperson will also attack Labour for their “continual desire to shirk responsibility” which has led to them failing to advocate strongly for the devolution of policing.
Speaking ahead of the debate in Westminster, Jonathan Edwards MP said:
“This is a government of chaos and catastrophe playing fast and loose with our system of law and order. 500 fewer police officers are on Welsh streets thanks to Westminster’s budget cuts. We cannot afford to let this continue.
“The Westminster Government can find a billion-pounds for a dodgy deal with the DUP to keep it in power, and last week we learned that the Government has offered to buy-off Brexit votes on crucial upcoming parliamentary debates from Labour MPs. Millions, possibly billions, offered to Labour MPs to back a deal which they know will leave their constituents poorer. But they continue to claim funding our police services properly is impossible.
“The truth is Wales simply does not matter to Westminster.
“The money to fund our public services is there, it is the political will which is missing. It’s time we took control and created a criminal justice system for Wales, in Wales.
“The latest figures show if policing was devolved to Wales and funded on the basis of population – as is the case with other services – forces in Wales would be over £20 million per year better off.
“That is hundreds more police men and women that could be on our streets tomorrow, if Wales was just treated as an equal.
“Labour needs to stop shirking their responsibility and put their weight bending our calls for the devolution of policing.
“It’s time Welsh police forces were given the support they deserve and our communities demand.“