Calls to ‘scrap’ costly Police and Crime Commissioners before May’s election
The Welsh Liberal Democrats and Welsh Conservatives have both attacked the amount spent by Wales’ Police and Crime Commissioners, with the former calling for the roles to be scrapped.
Their calls came after an FOI request revealed PCCs had spent almost £9million on PR and staffing costs in the last four years.
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds called for scrapping the role of Police and Crime Commissioners and for the full devolution of justice and policing to Wales.
The Welsh Conservatives meanwhile said that to spend in excess of £8 million on PR and staffing costs was “utterly scandalous”.
The Conservatives lost their lone Welsh PCC to Plaid Cymru in the Dyfed-Powys area in the 2016 election, while the Liberal Democrats have never had a representative.
Winston Roddick who was the PCC for North Wales between 2012 and 2016 resigned from the Liberal Democrats to stand as an independent.
Plaid Cymru boycotted the 2012 PCC elections but won both the North Wales and Dyfed-Powys Police areas in 2016, while Labour retained both South Wales and Gwent Police.
“Police and Crime Commissioners on paper have some merit. However, in reality, what we have seen is they are excessively bureaucratic, politicise our police forces and take resources away from front line policing,” Jane Dodds said.
“Our approach to policing and criminal justice needs to be rooted in the evidence, not on the basis of political rhetoric and electioneering.
“We need to scrap these costly roles and fight for powers over policing to be devolved to Wales so we can adopt an effective, liberal and community-based approach to tackling crime.”
Paul Davies MS, the Leader of the Opposition in the Welsh Parliament, said the costs were “criminal”.
“It is incredible that the PCC for North Wales has spent more on PR than the other three PCCs combined,” he said.
“Ironically, the Police and Crime Commissioners’ astronomical costs on PR has created anything but good spin.
“This latest spending spree demonstrates just how out of touch Labour and Plaid Cymru are with taxpayers’ money – it’s simple: do not waste money when it is the taxpayer picking up the tab.
“I find it alarming how between 2018 and 2019 PR costs incurred by Dyfed Powys PCC increased by more than 280%. And yet at the same time the Commissioner was complaining about the financial pressures on the Police.
“Wales needs Police and Crime Commissioners who will cut down on these extraordinary high levels of waste that we have seen for the last four years and focus on doing what the public expect – creating safer streets for everyone.”