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Policing would need to be devolved for one Welsh police force to work says South Wales Chief Constable

30 Mar 2022 4 minutes Read
Jeremy Vaughan, Chief Constable of South Wales Police

The Chief Constable of South Wales has said that policing would need to be devolved to Wales before combining all four police forces into one Police Wales would make work.

Jeremy Vaughan was speaking at a special one-off session on policing in Wales at the Welsh Affairs Committee today.

Yesterday the Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys Police, Dr Richard Lewis, had called for them to be merged.

But Jeremy Vaughan said that under the present system, where the Home Office had created 43 Police and Crime Commissioners to set policing priorities, it was not up to him to “instigate the conversation”.

“I don’t think you could go for a single Welsh police force until you devolve policing to Wales,” he said.

“Because otherwise, I don’t really see the benefit of operating on a single force model, if you wouldn’t then have a greater degree of leverage and influence with partners in Wales.

“And that would have to happen alongside the devolution of policing and for me. Because to maximise the benefits and the costs that is a patently political decision.”

He added that he had “no doubt” a single Welsh police force would be more efficient.

“You could with a greater scale have better single IT infrastructure systems, you could have better back-office functions, and you could have a greater procurement ability, albeit we do procure a lot on a all-Wales basis now. So the potential for you to do things at scale more efficiently, I think is clear.”

However, he added that it “wasn’t clear” whether the service would be better as a result. He noted that there were big differences between policing Dolgellau where he grew up and Swansea. “You’re never going to get a riot in Dolgellau, but we had one in Swansea recently.”

“And I think that means that the way that we deliver policing services would I think take quite a long time for it to settle down to deliver a better service,” he said. “I don’t think this will ever be a short term delivery.

“You might deliver efficiencies in the short term, but service improvement could take longer to embed and whether there was the political will and appetite to see that unfold over time.”

‘Difficult start’

Chief Constable Carl Foulkes of North Wales Police said that for him the major organised crime came from “left to right rather than up and down”.

“It comes from Mersyside, it comes from Manchester. So all my working partnerships were from the north-west [of England],” he said.

“But our shared culture, our shared language are absolutely in Wales. So there are some challenges for us to move and get over in North Wales.

“That local service that Jeremy spoke about – and I hope we don’t get a riot in Dolgellau – how do you maintain that local service delivery on a national level, which could be a challenge.”

Police in Wales are currently split into North Wales Police, Dyfed-Powys Police, South Wales Police and Gwent Police, with four different Police and Crime Commissioners in charge of those areas.

Yesterday Richard Lewis had told the BBC: “Doing away with those borders means we can provide a more effective service.”

“One chief constable rather than four. One deputy chief constable. Dare I say one commissioner instead of four,” he said.

“Police Scotland had a difficult start but I think they’re now seeing the benefits of having one national service in Scotland.

“We can learn the lessons, of course, from those early days in Scotland… creating national structures in the IT world et cetera.”


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Ifano Torripoteli
Ifano Torripoteli
1 month ago

Devolve policing and justice. One step at a time we will become more independent.

Popsie
1 month ago

One step at a time, things are getting worse and worse in Wales. NHS is prime example, let’s not add policing.

Ifano Torripoteli
Ifano Torripoteli
1 month ago
Reply to  Popsie

That’s no excuse. Things are getting worse everywhere. Other dependent countries wouldn’t reject more autonomy if something else was not going so well would they?

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Popsie

Popsie, you do realise that Cameron’s ‘line of death’ bullish!t was just that – English tory propaganda bullsh!t. According to WHO there was no noticeable difference in healthcare between Wales and england.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

We looked at this on the north Wales Police Authority some years back and after much discussion several thought strands emerged – 1. An all Wales focus was to be welcomed and should be an aim…there were issues of Wales level cooperation including interagency working with Fire and Ambulance plus of course now Y Sennedd. 2. All Wales training configeration especialy around Police Hel/copter coverage and Rural Crime linked In well though regional crime pathways at that time ( and now ) linked to Mercia and N West Authorities. 3. Criminal Justice inc courts and Community Safety were seem as… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

Criminal & Youth Justice must be devolved to Wales.. End of! We cannot continue having our Senedd Cymru legislature tied to an England where both Scotland & NI have control of their own courts & policing, and this within a UK framework too, I might add. So no lame excuse to the contrary. Devolve it now!

Last edited 1 month ago by Y Cymro
Grayham Jones
1 month ago

All police in wales to be run from wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Alun
Alun
1 month ago

“The Chief Constable of South Wales has said that policing would need to be devolved to Wales before combining all four police forces into one Police Wales would make work.”

Surely it’s the other way round? Combining our four police forces into one would add to the case for devolution of powers.

Kurt C
Kurt C
1 month ago

Get on and devolve then. I feel we can evolve away to a better service.

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
1 month ago

Having worked with Jeremy Vaughan over many years i regard him as a very capable Chief officer. His evidence to the Welsh affairs committee was good to hear Balanced and thought out. I personally would trust him and the Police Service far more than any politicians. Policing is becoming more and more a political football which is not good.

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