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Devolution of policing ‘chilling proposition’ and North Wales Police have closer links to England says Tory MS

14 Mar 2022 3 minute read
Mark Isherwood. Picture by Senedd TV.

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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Gareth
Gareth
6 months ago

Chilling proposition, says the Tory, as a very controversial police and crime bill is being forced into law in Westminster, against the advice of many in the legal profession and civil rights groups. We can do better, and it is our right to be able to control our own police and courts.

R W
R W
6 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Absolutely. If North Wales Police are in more contact with forces in the North West of England, it is because far more crime (drugs, theft, violence, anti – social behaviour, etc) is brought to us from from that part of the world than is brought to us from elsewhere in Wales. Isherwood saying that we should have closer affiliations with North West England instead of other Welsh forces is akin to someone telling Ukrainians that they should join up with Russia rather than the EU because the Russians bring them far more pain and suffering than the EU does!! The… Read more »

Grayham Jones
6 months ago

This is why we need a New Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 kick all English party’s out of wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Carol Loughlin
Carol Loughlin
6 months ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

*Wales

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
6 months ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

*parties

hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago

Police being politicised in Wales ? Maybe a little, but by citing England he shoots himself in both feet. Nowhere is the police more politicised and corrupted than in London. Between the Home Office on the one hand and self important Mayor on the other they have contrived to turn that force into a right nest of posturing and intrigue. Tory finger prints all over it, Mr Isherwood.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
6 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Policing has always been political. The inception of modern policing in the late 1820s was partly down to events such as the disaster in what we’d now describe, PR terms such the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester in 1819, and more especially due to the rising tide of agitation for democracy and better working conditions, the idea being that the thin red line of the military was replaced by the thin blue line of civillian police. The purpose of the police was, and still is, to quell and surveill and contain the activities of the ‘dangerous’ classes that perpetually threaten the… Read more »

Richard
Richard
6 months ago

My v good friend Mark of course is right regarding links to the the north west area serious crime squad – though perhaps might have been more open in expanding as to why? The answer being for that is where most of the serious crime and drug links orriginate. In London where police issues are devolved – is Mark suggesting this cross Londin oversite model should be returned to the many local authority bodies within. And what do i know ? Perhaps several years as an elected police authority member, exec member of the Walea and England Police Authority network… Read more »

Gareth P
Gareth P
6 months ago

I think I am ever so concerned that Mr Mark Isherwood has ‘contacts’ in North Wales Police and that ‘they’ have expressed ‘concerns’ over the senedd capability if policing was devolved. This raises immediate questions over political bias within North Wales Police and the influence of Westminster and the home office.
Policing in Wales needs to be devolved urgently in a similar model to Scotland with the creation of Police Scotland, immediate saving on upper management and increase feet on streets.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
6 months ago
Reply to  Gareth P

The last thing Wales needs is an unaccountable Gendarmerie National like Police Scotland.

CJPh
CJPh
6 months ago

One of the min reasons that crime/law/policing is a real hot button issue for unionist politicians and pundits (more so than any other area) is that it would reveal the greatest disparity between our two nations. Not only would it reveal that violent crime rates are massively different, even in jurisdictions with a similar socio-economic profile, but that much of the criminality in Wales (especially the worst crimes) are perpetrated by people from across clawdd Offa – either moved to housing estates in Llanelli, Carmarthen, the valleys etc or by gangs that pop down the M4 or across the Mersey… Read more »

Mark
Mark
6 months ago

Another tory opening his mouth before engaging his brain, people in glass houses and all that.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
6 months ago

Nice try mate but by constantly belittling the institution you are a part of will one day see you out of a job. No one likes a quisling who puts down his own country’s abilities.

Rob
Rob
6 months ago

I’m pretty sure Cardiff is still slightly closer to North Wales than London? I find it chilling to think that somehow London’s knows best when it comes to Wales specific matters.

Look at Northern Ireland, policing is devolved there. You have former nationalist and loyalist paramilitaries in the Northern Ireland Assembly now able to make decisions into how the Police Service of Northern Ireland is operated, yet for some reason Wales elected politicians are not capable of making similar decisions in their country?

R W
R W
6 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Thats right. Holyhead to Cardiff is just under 200 miles whilst Holyhead to London is just under 300 miles. BTW, Lerwick to Edinburgh is over 350 miles, and they have just the one police force there.

hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago
Reply to  R W

Maybe it’s Scotland that needs 2 -3 regional forces and Wales could make a single force work for it as long as H.Q was a good 70-100 miles from Cardiff. Say somewhere like Aberystwyth, Drenewydd, Llandod, Llanelewedd…. That might make Wales Gov get its finger out to improve the A470 and A483

R W
R W
6 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Generally agree with that.

Leigh Richardss
Leigh Richardss
6 months ago

We have to take Isherwood’s word for it that these ‘contacts’ and ‘sources’ exist – he could be making it up entirely. He has one very easy way of proving their authenticity – reveal who they are! What are the odds he’ll do no such thing 😉

Quornby
Quornby
6 months ago

My thoughts exactly.

R W
R W
6 months ago

So Isherwood claims that the Welsh Government has a record of “creeping and often intimidatory politicisation” of public services. Wasn’t it the Tories who decided we should have elected Police and Crime Commissioners? That move certainly brought an extra political dimension to policing!! As for his claims concerning his contacts in North Wales Police, I simply don’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth. I’m starting to think that all Tories are compulsive liars? Perhaps Bozo the Clown has made it a requirement of the job!!

Arfon Jones
Arfon Jones
6 months ago
Reply to  R W

Mark Isherwood claims of a close relationship with NWP is certainly correct. In my 5 years as PCC Mark Isherwood was more supportive of my office and work than any other MS in North Wales and attended all the briefings by the force and regional North west policing from where he gets the flawed argument that devolution of policing would fir example the close operational workings between Cheshire, Merseyside and North Wales. To be honest Mark’s opposition is more to do with core Unionist ideology than any practical consideration

Richard
Richard
6 months ago
Reply to  Arfon Jones

Mark is certainly a very hard working local MS who gives hours of his time often for causes that some of his colleages would steer clear of or ignore.

The drift in his party currently must be a direction that challenges many of his core values.

Paul
Paul
6 months ago

I get angrier by the day..

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
6 months ago

Much of the crime, especially drugs, that is blighting North Wales is coming from the north west of England. That largely explains the deep connection between the police in both areas. However, that is certainly not an argument for Westminster to retain control of the Welsh police.

In the Netherlands and Belgium police work together in many ways – but one does not control the other.

Bad argument Mark Isherwood.

Arfon Jones
Arfon Jones
6 months ago

Whilst I don’t agree with Mark Isherwood’s argument that just because the direction of travel of criminality is East to west rather than south to North that policing cannot be devolved. There are national police forces all over Europe who work closely together and even here Police Scotland with devolved policing are part of the National Crime Agency and the North West Organised Crime Unit and in Ireland senior officers from the Garda Siochana have taken up roles with the PSNI. Operational policing will continue irrespective of the structure. The way we do business in Wales is vastly different to… Read more »

Cynan
Cynan
6 months ago

Oh my Tarren! Where do they get all this bizarre drivel from?

Quornby
Quornby
6 months ago

Don’t know about the police but Isherwood certainly has closer links, and loyalty to England.

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