Devolution of policing ‘chilling proposition’ and North Wales Police have closer links to England says Tory MS
The devolution of policing to Wales is a “chilling proposition” as the Welsh Government has a record of “creeping and often intimidatory politicisation” of public services, a Conservative Senedd Member has said.
Mark Isherwood said that his contacts in North Wales Police “have a closer affiliation with north-west England than the rest of Wales” and that they did not think the Welsh Government was competent enough to handle policing.
The North Wales list member was speaking in a Senedd debate on ‘The Devolution of Policing’.
“As I said here last month ‘devolution of Policing would therefore be operational insanity and financial lunacy,'” he said.
“The call for devolution of policing would deliver the opposite of real devolution – threatening to take more powers from the Welsh regions and to centralise these in Cardiff, giving the Welsh Government power to hire and fire Chief Constables.
“Given Labour’s record of creeping and often intimidatory politicisation of devolved public services, this is a chilling proposition.”
He added: “My contacts in both North Wales Police and the region’s Police Federation have repeatedly told me that they have a closer affiliation with north-west England than the rest of Wales, and that there is a lack of competence in Welsh Government to handle the devolution of policing.
“With Crime and Justice operating on an East-West axis, North Wales Police share services including regional organised crime, firearms, intelligence, custody, property and forensics with their sister Forces in North West England.
“They also expressed concern about any desire in Welsh Government to merge the police forces in Wales. As they stated, ‘the geography and current calibrations with various English forces makes the concept of an all Wales Police Force very difficult’, adding ‘to force such a move to satisfy the egos of certain Politicians should be carefully monitored’.”
Mark Isherwood added that criminal activity “does not recognise national or regional boundaries” and that “cross-border partnerships must reflect operational reality”.
He that 48% of people in Wales live within 25 miles of the border with England, and 90% within 50 miles, in contrast to Scotland, where only 5% of the combined population of Scotland and England lives within 50 miles of the border between those countries.
Labour Senedd Member Alun Davies responded to say: “We are talking about devolving the police, not devolving crime.”
“It cannot be seen as a success when, for however long we’ve had the joint England and Wales jurisdiction, women are treated so appallingly by the whole of that system.
“They have had since 1536. So, you’ll have to excuse my cynicism when I hear these things.”
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